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Overweight, obesity rose 18% in kids early in pandemic, study finds

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In the first 3 to 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion of overweight or obese children and teens from low-income families in Ohio climbed from 38% to 45%, suggests a study presented last week at the European Congress on Obesity in the Netherlands.In the observational study, which was published online Apr 6 in Clinical Obesity, researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University used primary-care electronic medical records to track the body mass index (BMI) of 4,509 children and teens aged 2 to 17 years from low-income families, comparing weight and height data from both before and after the pandemic began (Jan 1 to Mar 30, 2020 and Jun 1 to Sep 2020).Healthy-weight category shrankFrom before to after the beginning of the pandemic, the proportion of overweight or obese youth rose from 37.8% to 44.6%, while the share of healthy-weight youth fell by 5.6%.

Overall, 23.1% of children and teens gained 5 or more kilograms (kg) (11 pounds), while 4.3% gained at least 10 kg (22 pounds), and 17.8% saw an increase in BMI of 2 or more units.Of youth who were underweight before the pandemic, 45.3% moved into the healthy-weight range after a median gain of 2.1 kg (4.6 pounds).

Among children and teens who stayed in the same weight category, median weight gain was greatest in those who were severely obese, at 5.8 kg (12.8 pounds), those who were obese (4.3 kg [9.5 pounds]), overweight (2.7 kg [5.6 pounds]), and healthy weight (1.7 kg [3.7 pounds]).In an age-stratified analysis, boys aged 2 to 5 years were less likely than girls their age to move to concerning weight change (CWC) status, and Hispanic youth were more likely than their White counterparts to do so (odds ratio [OR], 2.04).Among 6- to

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