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Pediatricians and public health experts predict a potentially dramatic increase in childhood obesity this year as months of pandemic eating, closed schools, stalled sports and public space restrictions extend indefinitely.
About one in seven children have met the criteria for childhood obesity since 2016, when the federal National Survey of Children’s Health changed its methodology, a report out Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found.
While the percentage of children considered obese declined slightly in the last 10 years, it is expected to jump in 2020.
“We were making slow and steady progress until this,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, a Northwestern University economist and professor. “It’s likely we will have wiped out a lot of the progress that we’ve made over the last decade in childhood obesity.”