«At the present time we are experiencing a pandemic of obesity children and adolescents, which the health crisis caused by the coronavirus has aggravated in a very significant way, “says Dr. Gilberto Pérez López, from the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital.
Before the pandemic, and despite the fact that the figures were still worrying regarding the prevalence of childhood obesity, studies such as the ALADINO 2019 indicated some stabilization of the figures.
But, in the opinion of the coordinator of the work group on childhood and adolescent obesity of the Spanish Society of Obesity (SEEDO), “everything has changed after confinement and worsened in the last year.”
According to the doctor Gilberto Perez, «The perception in consultations is clear: we observed a worsening of the weight gain of children and adolescents, as well as an increase in cases of severe obesity».
From bad to worse
The ALADINO 2019 study showed that the prevalence of overweight is 23.3% and the prevalence of obesity is 17.3% in the Spanish child population aged 6 to 9 years, according to the WHO weight status standards. Within obesity, 4.2% of the schoolchildren studied had severe obesity.
These data, which were already bad despite the certain stagnation of the figures appreciated before the pandemic, are now becoming even more worrying.
A recent study by the digital safety and well-being platform for the family ‘Qustodio’ leaves findings for reflection, and confirms the causes of the spike in childhood and adolescent obesity rates:
Profile of the ‘new’ patients and solutions
The obesity ‘tsunami’ affects adolescents particularly hard, with major health complications for the future. “It is estimated that the increase in the prevalence of obesity in this age group (12-18 years) increases the risk of obesity in adulthood by 80%”, according to Dr. Gilberto Pérez.
Basically, there are 4 characteristic features that this phenomenon shows:
Faced with this bleak outlook, there is room for hope and optimism. “The key is to control the multidimensional factors that influence the development of obesity in childhood and adolescence,” says Gilberto Pérez.
In addition, the expert underlines especially “the importance of the family being aware of and committed to a real change in order to obtain results.”
Individual factors are the responsibility of the child and his family (diet, physical activity, hours of sleep and screen time, example of parents …), “while some other relevant factors depend on public bodies and the policies they implement” , this expert adds.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.