Obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effects of COVID-19. As highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “severe obesity increases the risk of a serious breathing problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is a major complication of COVID-19 and can cause difficulties with a doctor’s ability to provide respiratory support for seriously ill patients. People living with severe obesity can have multiple serious chronic diseases and underlying health conditions that can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.” Beside immediate health repercussions, this global pandemic will have a number of long-term repercussions on food systems, our physical activity environments, mental health, health systems and much more.
While it is essential to address the immediate impact of COVID-19, we also need to consider the potential long-term effects on other factors such as childhood obesity. In order to limit the transmission of the virus, governments around Europe have taken a number of steps, including the closure of schools. As children are staying at home, many are missing out on subsidised school lunches, structured physical activity sessions and are more likely to have access to long-term shelf-life food, which often comprise of energy-dense, nutrient-poor food. Researchers around the world are therefore urging policymakers to consider ways to address some of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a potential increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity.
Over the course of the coming weeks, the STOP project will be collating known materials pertaining to obesity and the current outbreak of COVID-19, with a strong focus on identifying resources that may be useful regarding childhood obesity. If you have queries about this resource page, or know of any materials that are well suited to be shared, please contact our communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.