Pediatricians are concerned about a rise in obesity and overweight among young people due to the pandemic.
Several factors contribute to creating “a perfect storm”, believes Mélanie Henderson, pediatric endocrinologist at the CHU de Sainte-Justine.
According to her, confinement cuts young people off from their activities, including extracurricular activities and organized weekend sports and from their daily structure.
Ms. Henderson also points to the increase in screen time, proximity to the fridge and the lack of a social network as factors that contribute to weight gain in young people.
In addition to changes in habits and the decline in physical activity among young people, the family context can also have an impact, argues the pediatrician.
“There are a lot of families who are in mourning. Parents experience the stress of having to organize their work at home. They no longer have their support network to take care of children, for example, grandparents. And there are many who experience a lot of financial insecurity or stress or even job loss, ”says Henderson.
Rising food prices at the grocery store are also affecting weight gain.
“We have noticed that the price of food at the grocery store has been increasing in recent years and therefore it is much easier to buy a two-liter of soft drink than to buy milk for the family for the week”, admits- she.
The pandemic is not only impacting overweight, but also all eating disorders.
“My colleagues who specialize in eating disorders are seeing a very significant increase in consultation requests and that the young people already being followed are experiencing enormous difficulties,” says Ms. Henderson.
“I think it comes down to the fact that the pandemic has impacts on our infrastructures, our routines, but also on an emotional level. It is nevertheless well demonstrated that there is a lot of anxiety, more depressive symptoms and therefore it is really a difficult period for young people as for adults, ”she adds.