The Covid-19 pandemic worsened an already dire childhood obesity epidemic

Covid-19 has exacerbated the childhood obesity epidemic, and kids from Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately affected.

Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez (@DoctoraEdith) is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, a pediatrician with the NewYork-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network and the host of "Las Doctoras Recomiendan," a child health podcast distributed by the Univision network. Dr. John Rausch is an associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and medical director for Health for Life West, a comprehensive weight management program at the NewYork-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network.

(CNN)Pediatricians like us have seen it over and over again in the last few months -- kids who have put on 5, sometimes 10, at times even 20 pounds -- since the onset of the pandemic.

In a year filled with so much tragedy and suffering, it would be easy to dismiss a few extra pounds in a child or to think of weight gain as a problem to be solved once the pandemic recedes. But the weight gain we are seeing in kids is neither trivial nor can it wait.
The specifics leading to weight gain vary. Sometimes it's Dad, who recently took over the cooking and may be overfeeding the kids; other times it's Grandma, who has been spoiling them now that they're home; for still others, favorite sports are no longer an option, or they've stopped going outside altogether.