Child obesity is rising – it’s time to undo the damage done by poorly planned Covid lockdowns

In the last year children have altered their diets and reduced their movements in ways they have now become used to, says Hannah Fearn. It’s time we reversed these habits

Wednesday 17 November 2021 17:57
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<p>‘Locking children in their homes with only screens for human interaction was incredibly poor public policy for child development’ </p>

‘Locking children in their homes with only screens for human interaction was incredibly poor public policy for child development’

Pandemic restrictions on socialising and movement have become such an ingrained part of our lives in the short matter of 18 months that it’s tricky now to remember exactly what the first few weeks of the UK Covid outbreak were like. There was the mild anxiety around the first identifiable cases in Brighton and Hove, then the ramping up of tension as the inevitable spread took hold. Finally, we were in full lockdown: only able to leave our homes for an hour a day, and only then to buy essential supplies or for exercise.

Children’s playgrounds were padlocked. Swimming pools were closed. Park benches were taped off. Communal equipment was rendered out of use. We took our daily walks, some started jogging, others began a daily date with Joe Wicks for PE or yoga with Adriene. But in the main we became more sedentary, filling our time on screens and sofas.

And to soothe our anxiety, to placate our boredom, we focused on food. The infamy of sourdough starters and banana bread bakes bore its roots in the ubiquity of our desire to bury deep our bleak feelings – which, for many, included the shock of grief – in food.

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