Children’s body mass index rose during pandemic

AAP: children's body mass index rose during pandemic

Children, particularly girls, experienced significant increases in body mass index (BMI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California.

Rylie Mainville, a medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, and colleagues assessed the trajectory of pediatric BMI during the pandemic versus prior to the beginning of the pandemic. Analysis included 238 patients (ages 4 to 17 years; majority Black and enrolled in Medicaid), seen for at least two well-check visits separated by one year.

The researchers found that BMI percentile increased significantly from the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown to May 2021. The increase was more significant for girls. There were positive associations seen between increase in BMI percentile over the pandemic and an increase in family time and an increase in screen time over the last year.

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