In recent media interviews, ACHI Director of Analytics Mike Motley discussed a new report by ACHI showing that during the 2020-21 school year more than one in four (26%) public school-age children had a BMI measurement classified as obese, up from 23% the previous year. This is the highest obesity rate and the highest single-year increase in the obesity rate since data collection began in 2003.
“It’s likely related to some secondary COVID-19 impacts,” Motley told KUAF. “We know a lot of kids switched to virtual learning, among other changes. This can impact their overall level of physical activity ”• they’re not coming and going from school, they’re not benefitting from P.E. or recess or school sports.”
Childhood obesity can lead to serious health issues in adulthood, Motley said.
“Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other health problems,” he told KUAR. “Obesity-related health problems are estimated to cost the nation’s healthcare system $190 billion each year.”