“Forget what needs to be done for physical activity and perfect eating goals,” wrote Dr. Perrin. “Do your best to eat at home and show up for physical activity every day.” Specific food-related suggestions include involving children in cooking and using the government’s MyPlate website to plan healthy meals on a budget. For physical activity, find a way to exercise a little each day.
“As always, try to focus on behavior, not weight,” wrote Dr. Perrin. “The important thing is that families eat the best they can – whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables, drinking water – and not a ton of fast food or sugary drinks, and that they stay active.”
One of the toughest lessons of this terrible pandemic year was how the health differences affect the course of life, as we have seen higher death and disease rates in black and brown communities. There are many health equity issues that need to be addressed here, but for children growing up in vulnerable populations, childhood obesity is another serious health inequality that is related to some of the underlying conditions humans experience higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease.
These differences require complex systemic fixes – from access to healthy foods, to safe places for outdoor activities, to improved mental health services and other support that can reduce stress for families. Instead, parents and children often encounter guilt and stigma.
“Obesity itself as a disease carries a risk of more severe Covid infection,” said Dr. Hassink. “If I replaced the word asthma with obesity, people wouldn’t blame people for asthma. You would say: let’s make sure there are no allergens in your environment. Let’s make sure you’re getting the right medications and medical care. but don’t blame the kid. “
Dr. Michelle White, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke, is a health care researcher researching what might be protective for families at high obesity risk, examining environmental and family factors, including how neighborhoods can contribute to obesity risks – or solutions . “Some families who report significant effects from Covid-19 are still able to withstand stress and behaviors such as physical activity and eating well,” she said. “I think we can learn a lot from these families.”