Abstract

The dramatic lifestyle changes forced by COVID-19-related lockdown promoted weight gain, with a stronger impact on obese subjects, at higher risk of severe infection. The PubMed database was searched to identify original studies assessing: (1) the extent and risk factors of lockdown-induced weight increase; and (2) the impact of obesity on the risk of hospital admission in children and adolescents. A systematic literature review and meta-analyses were performed. Twenty out of 13,986 identified records were included. A significant weight increase was reported in the majority of subjects, with no apparent gender or age differences. It was induced by a higher consumption of hypercaloric/hyperglycemic/junk food and/or the reduction of physical activity, often associated with an altered sleep-wake cycle. On the other hand, obesity increased the risk of hospitalization (OR = 4.38; 95% C.I. 1.46-13.19; p = 0.009; I2 = 96%) as compared to the normal weight population. COVID-19 and obesity represent epidemic conditions with reciprocal detrimental impact. Urgent public health interventions, targeting the various age and social strata, and involving governmental authorities, health care personnel, teachers and families are warranted to increase awareness and actively promote healthy lifestyles to contrast pediatric obesity and its detrimental consequences at a global level.

  • Newborn (0-1 years)
  • Children (2-9 years)
  • Adolescents (10-18 years)
  • Adults (18+)
  • Risk factor
  • COVID-19