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Pandemic Weight Problems, Eating Disorders Affect Children

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Sixty-one percent of American adults put on weight during the pandemic with an average gain of 29 pounds. Missing in that statistic is what has happened to kids.

Children are gaining unexpected weight and also losing dangerous amounts as the pandemic ignites anxiety and stress. This phenomenon is unprecedented and it is leading to disordered eating.

Pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, parents, the head of adolescent medicine at a major Bay Area medical center and a pediatric neuro-endocrinologist spoke to KPIX News about what they have been seeing and why it's happening.

The reasons are complex and it's often very difficult for parents to come up with reasonable strategies.

Bottom line: talk to your pediatrician. Experts caution that you should not shame your child. In addition, a new paper published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing titled "When Pandemics Collide: the Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity" (PDF) has a helpful list of strategies that may provide critical assistance to parents and loved ones.

Be sure to go to Table 3 for the list of ideas and links.

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