Research from the University at Buffalo says that COVID lockdowns across the world have affected the diet, sleep and physical activity among children. The study, published in the journal ‘Obesity’, says that compared to a year before COVID, the children ate an additional meal per day, slept an extra half hour per day, added nearly five hours per day in front of phone, computer and television screens and dramatically increased their intake of red meat, sugary drinks and junk foods. Their physical activity, on the other hand, went down by more than two hours per week.
The researchers say that school environments provide structure and routine around mealtimes, physical activity and sleep – three predominant lifestyle factors that are involved in controlling the risk of obesity. Unfortunately, the study says, the weight gained during the lockdown may not go away easily. It will need special effort on the part of the parents, teachers and the kids themselves.