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Editor’s note: Here’s an excerpt from an article in The BMJ. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.

The swift and necessary public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental consequences for the prevention and management of childhood obesity, a concern critically in need of public health action.

Although children are not as severely affected by COVID-19 as adults — experiencing fewer or no symptoms — the public health response to mitigate its spread has exacerbated several risk factors for childhood obesity. Extended lockdowns and social distancing measures have increased children’s exposure to obesogenic environments and disrupted their participation in health promoting behaviors.

Childhood obesity affects an estimated 50 million girls and 74 million boys worldwide. These children are at greater risk of developing related functional, metabolic and psychological conditions, experiencing pervasive weight bias and stigma and having greater healthcare costs.

Childhood obesity is strongly correlated with risk of adult obesity and poor health, with considerable social and economic consequences. Despite efforts, no country is on track to meet the targets set out by the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

Read the entire The BMJ article here.