At NK Fitness we do a lot of fitness training with young people. Many of these are local to us in Ascot, but some stretch as far away as Hungary! A high percentage of our young clients are talented young athlete, whom we help develop their athletic readiness to excel in their sport. The rest of our young clients simply enjoy exercising on a regular basis. The imposed national lockdown in response to Covid-19 has presented some challenges for young athletes. Competitions and lots of sports specific training activities have been cancelled. However, we are able to keep their physical conditioning on track via Zoom and online platforms. But there is a bigger concern for the broader childhood population during lockdowns. Covid and child obesity seemed to be linked – and not in a good way. Here, we look at some alarming evidence.
The link between Covid and Child Obesity
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that restricting peoples movement will lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. Research led from the University of Buffalo showed that overweight children in Italy ate and slept more during lockdown. Moreover, they also moved less. Screen time increased by 5 hours per day. Despite many governments allowing people out to exercise daily – it isn’t ideal for young people. Young people often move for enjoyment. A normal school day would also include a lot of movement as part of the commute and school day.
The researchers also found that dietary habits changed – with increased consumption of red meat and sugar. So the link between Covid and child obesity is not a good one. Weight gain in young people and adolescence is correlated to being overweight as an adult. Obesity has clear links to the development of other health complications such as Type 2 Diabetes.
Preventing weight gain during lockdown
Keeping young people active during the Pandemic is tough.
- Making physical activity playful in the form of games and challenges – remember, children exercise for fun not necessity.
- Many people are using the time to get DIY done at home. Involve the children in these projects, such as building a new garden fence or decorating the house – there are plenty of manual tasks that they can help you with.
- Look up challenges online – use the time to challenge them to learn new physical skills, such as juggling.
- Children who are overweight are often very strong compared to their peers – select activities that enable them to express this superior strength.
Further weight gained during lockdown is harder to lose for those children already classified as overweight. Besides, it also places them at increased risk of further health complications. Work hard to keep all children active during the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.