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Children's Pandemic Weight Gain: Tips, advice on food and exercise

Healthy meals going to communities in need during coronavirus pandemic
Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 00:50:01-05

A report on more than 400,000 children showed those children gained weight during the pandemic at more than double the pre-pandemic rate,
according to a CDC report.

"Increased weight means inflammation, and when you have inflammation in your body it can lead to numerous, numerous health conditions," said Vicki Pare, a Green Bay nutritionist.

Pare offered tips to work to lose weight or avoid weight gain.

"If [people] drink a glass of water before each meal, they will reduce the amount of calories that they would consume normally..." Pare said.

She also said rest is important.

"Quality of sleep [is] very important, because studies have shown that inadequate duration and quality of sleep are big risk factors to obesity."

Meeting the demand

At the Boys & Girls Club of Door County, CEO Jennifer Gentry noted children's moods when the club reopened during the pandemic.

"We saw kind of an interesting, lethargic nature to the children, many of whom were used to kind of sitting in front of the TV, or not being as active," Gentry said.

Some children at the Club gained weight during the pandemic, while other children lost weight, Gentry said.

To meet demand from children, the club expanded its homemade dinner offerings from three nights per week, to four.

"We're teaching them about vegetables, and what it means to grow your own food," Gentry said.

"We know what's going in the food, nothing is really a preservative that they can be getting out of a microwave meal.

Gentry said she has seen a rebound in the children, and the trend is now positive.

Meal 1
The Boys & Girls Club of Door County expanded its homemade dinner program from three nights per week, to four.

Getting Active

Casey Shea, a personal trainer in Green Bay, offered a no-cost tip to try to lose weight or avoid excessive weight gain.

"The simplest thing... 10 minute walks after your large meals," Shea said.

For an indoor option, "Implement chores, get up, go clean your room," Shea said.

"Having those breaking periods from sitting, that's going to be the best thing for you, just increasing your activity in any way possible."