Since COVID-19 first shuttered schools last spring, American children have been subjected to a kind of natural experiment in inactivity. The last 18 months have seen three school years interrupted sporadically by closures, quarantines, and virtual instruction, during which time children have spent more time in front of screens than ever before. And the physical effects are now becoming clear.
According to a paper circulated last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, body mass index (a common measure of weight relative to height) in a sample of 430,000 children increased between March and November 2020 at nearly double the rate that it did before the pandemic began. The changes were especially prevalent among elementary-aged children, as well as those who were already overweight or obese. Read more..