The inactivity of Zoom classrooms has led to an alarming spike in school children’s weight. Richard Swerdlow says it's time to get moving again.
With coronavirus reducing classrooms to computer screens, students have been learning from home for a year. There's been a lot of talk about kids falling behind in math and reading, and as an elementary school teacher, I am concerned about what students have been losing with remote learning. But I'm also concerned about what they've been gaining: Extra pounds.
In fact, the average kid has put on seven additional pounds during the pandemic.
With in-person school canceled, physical education classes and youth sports programs are canceled, too. But it's not only organized sports — just going to school gets kids moving. Remember walking or biking to school and those steep staircases in school buildings?
At home, without a school schedule and a school lunch, some students are sleeping in, snacking all day and grabbing a soda and a bag of chips for lunch. It may be every middle school kid's dream school day, but this perfect storm of sedentary behavior and junk food is resulting in so much unhealthy weight gain for kids that one pediatrician called the lock down rise in childhood obesity an “epidemic during a pandemic.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in five children and adolescents are now affected by obesity.