Obesity, Race Linked to Covid-19 in Kids

Updated: Aug 19

Several recent studies show obesity as well as race play a role when it comes to severe COVID-19 illness among children.

In recent reports published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention black and Hispanic children are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In a separate report on 200 children, also conducted by the CDC, more than forty-two percent of the children included in the analysis had at least one underlying condition, usually obesity.

What can you do to help you and your family lead a healthy lifestyle? Bucks County-based Family Dietitian Lisa James, MS, RDN, suggests taking the following small steps:

· Division of Responsibility in Feeding. The DOR in feeding encourages parents to take leadership with the what, when, and where of feeding and let your child determine how much and whether to eat what you provide.

· Breakfast. Consume at least 25 percent of your total daily caloric intake at breakfast. Your brain and body need fuel to start the day. Having already fasted for 12 hours – depending on what you consumed your last meal – it is best to kick start your day with fuel. Research shows that eating at night leads to twice as much weight gain and typically leads to poorer food choices.

· Eat Everything. Balance is needed to provide your body with what it needs nutritionally. A diet composed of all food groups including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed meats and seafood as well as dairy is most times what your body needs. Even sweets in moderation are needed to ensure your overall diet is sustainable and fun!

· Nutrition is Individualized. A child’s eating habits carry over into adulthood, and most times we have all had different childhood experiences. There is not one cookie-cutter diet that works for everyone. The only diet and nutrition plan that works is the one that works for your individual body.

· Meet with a Registered Dietitian. Most times nutrition counseling is fully covered by medical insurance, with no copay or out of pocket expense to the patient. A registered dietitian can help create a meal plan and provide you with a detailed nutrient analysis to ensure that you and your family are nourishing your bodies in the best way possible.

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