SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Children with certain underlying medical conditions, including obesity, are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 according to the CDC.
The latest CDC statistics show about 13.7 million U.S. children and adolescents are affected by obesity.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, registered dietitian Tiffany Krogstad says now is a good time to take a closer look at your family’s diet.
“Someone who is obese is going to be at more risk for any chronic diseases. And now… the times that we’re going through with COVID, there can be more challenges if an individual who is obese, comes down with coronavirus,” Tiffany Krogstad said.
The Mayo Clinic says obesity reduces the efficiency of your immune system. People who are obese are also more likely to experience dangerous symptoms if infected with COVID-19– no matter the age.
Krogstad says when it comes to guiding kids toward a healthy lifestyle, it all starts with the parents.
“So as a parent, we have the greatest influence on shaping our children’s eating habits and making healthy meals and exercise. It’s sort of a family event,” Krogstad said.
She says it’s important for children to eat balanced meals throughout the day, and limit food with added sugar.
“When it comes down between diet and exercise, they’re both going to be very crucial. What I always tell patients though, is you can’t out exercise a bad diet,” Krogstad said.
If your child has a sweet tooth, she suggests enjoying a dessert occasionally as a family instead of restricting it altogether.
“When we restrict foods from our children that can contribute to a higher risk of binge eating later in life,” Krogstad said.
And with many of us spending more time at home, she says now is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and exercise as a family.
To read more about the risk factors of COVID-19 and obesity, click here.