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Tennessee has 4th worst childhood obesity rate, study says

Health experts say the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new concern for childhood obesity.
(WILX)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 12:06 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation named Tennessee the fourth-worst state for childhood obesity.

Kentucky was named the worst state in the country for childhood obesity.

According to the study, 20.4 percent of children ages 10 to 17 in Tennessee are obese.

Officials said the data doesn’t mean Tennesseans are making worse decisions, but that there may be fewer resources available for parents to nourish their kids and keep them at a healthy weight.

Health experts say the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new concern for childhood obesity.

“Among kids that are hospitalized from COVID, and that’s still relatively rare compared to adults, but among kids that are hospitalized obesity is the most common chronic condition,” said Dr. Giridhar Mallya, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Policy Officer.

During the pandemic, many children were also forced to stay home from school, which limited many children’s access to healthy foods and physical activity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation urged parents to initiate changes to prioritize children’s health and improve equity in response to the pandemic and throughout recovery.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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