KILLEEN, TX — Some local parents say they noticed their little ones picked up a few extra pounds while doing remote learning and skipping after-school programs due to COVID.
“They definitely put on some weight. When I took them to the doctor, they said like so many other kids 20-30 pounds,” said Killeen Resident Paris Groves.
Local parents like Paris Groves say their kids gained weight after COVID restrictions ramped up during the summer.
“Inside you’re limited to the type of activities you can do. Some cities actually closed off their parks. That was probably their primary area for activity in movement for children,” said Texas A&M University-Central Texas Health Psychology Adjunct Professor Kimberly Berry.
Last year during the pandemic children missed out on several after-school programs, sports, school activities and other opportunities to get up and get moving.
Despite these obstacles, Bonita Mallard and her sons, two-sport student-athletes, pulled through and found ways to beat the "COVID-15."
“We would go to Lion’s Club Park and we would run and do different types of sprints and exercises. Do weights, push-ups and do weights,” said Mallard.
Local health experts say that many student-athletes had opportunities to stay fit.
“There were some kids that were playing at a higher level. Through the pandemic, we saw some of those sports come back with provisions. They had limited capacities for fans and parents to come watch,” said Berry.
Experts say even though some kids may have developed a bad habit due to the pandemic, working out as a family could motivate them to lose weight.
“We’ll get up early in the morning. We go work out we did our workouts; drink protein shakes and we do things like that in nature. Then we do homework and things like that to keep them busy,” said Mallard.
Experts also say nutritious meals and portion control are also key factors in child weight loss.