Child obesity has become more common during the coronavirus pandemic as kids stayed home glued to their screens instead of working off some energy outside.
Doctors warn that the long-term effects can be dire, ranging from hepatic steatosis and hyperlipoproteinemia to high blood pressure and diabetes. Also, childhood obesity can cause precocious puberty, resulting in stunted vertical growth.
According to the National Health Insurance Service, childhood obesity diagnoses surged 81.7 percent last year compared to 2019 to 1,283. It blames a decline in exercise and an increase in consumption of fast food deliveries in the pandemic.
Choi Jin-ho, a pediatrician at Asan Medical Center, said, "To prevent obesity, children need to exercise 30 minutes a day, refrain from lying down during the day, get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet."
Obesity is not the only lockdown problem. Optometrist Lee Byung-joo at Asan Medical Centre said, "Children are spending more time at home watching their screens, and that could harm their eyesight. After every 30 minutes, children need to look out of the windows for at least 50 seconds to give their eyes a rest."