Pediatricians warn children are picking up unhealthy habits during pandemic
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, some children have been picking up unhealthy habits such as consuming more sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks as well as exercising less, according to a study by pediatricians from the University Medical Center in Maastricht in a collaboration with other hospitals. 260 children from diverse backgrounds together with their parents filled in surveys about their lifestyle since the start of the pandemic, the ANP reports.
Already in September, many children seemed to have gained weight due to eating more unhealthy snacks and performing fewer physical activities. Pediatrician Anita Vreugdenhil is worried. “Obesity in younger years increases the risk of diabetes, heart- and vascular disease as well as fatty liver.”
One in five children reported drinking more than three sugary drinks per day, prior to the pandemic that number was one in seven.
A third of children are also spending more time in front of screens. That can impact their sleeping patterns.
On the other hand, the lifestyle of some children seems to have improved. One in five said they were eating more fruit, while one in three said they drink more water. 40 percent of the respondents also exercised more since the beginning of the pandemic.
Vreugdenhil said that we need to continue advocating a healthy lifestyle for children. Together with other doctors, she came up with the “Delta Plan Young and Healthy”, aimed to improve the health of children.
“The current unhealthy eating- and lifestyle trend of children has been establishing itself for more than a year now. It will not go away on its own”, Vreugdenhil said to the news wire. “That is why we must take action and approach this problem together. Health authorities, schools, gyms, municipalities, diet experts and social workers need to join forces on a national and regional level to get children as healthy as possible out of this pandemic.”