Less exercise, more weight, more sweets – this is how the pandemic has affected children’s eating and exercise behavior. Problematic: The bad habits remain.

According to statements by parents, the corona pandemic has had a negative impact on the eating and exercise behavior of many children and young people – and it has had a lasting effect. According to a survey, many minors have gained too much weight over the past two years, eat unhealthily and are less fit. “We have never seen weight gain to the extent that we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic. This is alarming, because being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, fatty liver or diabetes even in children and adolescents,” said Susann Weihrauch-Blüher from the German Obesity Association. Company to present the results on Tuesday.

“The consequences of the pandemic must be absorbed, otherwise the “corona kilos” will boomerang for the health of an entire generation,” said the director of the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich, Hans Hauner. According to the survey of parents, every sixth child in Germany has become fatter since the beginning of the pandemic, almost half move less than before, and around a quarter eat more sweets. In return, according to the parents’ estimates, around 70 percent of the minors used more media.

Changed habits not temporary

“Habits changed by lockdowns do not seem to be temporary,” the experts conclude. Children from low-income families, children who are already overweight and the ten to twelve-year-old age group are particularly affected. As countermeasures, the experts recommend immediate taxation of sugar drinks, advertising barriers for unhealthy foods and the assumption of the costs for obesity therapy by health insurance companies.

Analyzes had previously indicated that children spend more time consuming media and eat more sweets. For the representative survey now presented, the opinion research institute Forsa interviewed parents of children between the ages of 3 and 17. Since around half of the questions were identical to a survey from the year 2000, the development since then has been traced – even if the experts assume that parents have often embellished the information on unhealthy behavior.