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Development of Brief Video Intervention to Promote Physical Activity among Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Natasha Kane, Misti Neutzling & Sara M. St. George

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Obesity is a serious problem globally and in the United States for children, adolescents, and adults. For children and adolescents, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex. Among adults, it is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the prevalence of obesity in children is 19.3%, and that prevalence increases to 42.4% for adults in the United States. Trends across time display a continuous rise in obesity rates throughout the world, indicated by a doubling in rates since 1980. Individuals with obesity are at an increased risk for many chronic health conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, stroke, mental illness, many types of cancer, and overall mortality. Additionally, obesity is estimated to cost the United States $147 billion in healthcare costs annually.

Physical inactivity is a large contributor to the obesity epidemic. In fact, some researchers refer to physical inactivity throughout the world as a global pandemic itself. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization [WHO] (2020) recommend that children and adolescents aged 5–17 years old engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA daily. Individuals who do not meet these guidelines contribute to the global prevalence of physical inactivity which was 17% in 2009, and in 2012, numbers continued to rise to over 30%. Among deaths resulting from chronic dis-eases worldwide, 6–10% are attributed to a lack of PA. More specifically, physical inactivity as a health burden is estimated to cause approximately 30% of ischemic heart disease, 27% of diabetes, and 25% of breast and colon cancers. Being physically active is a protective factor against cardiovascular disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression, overweight and obesity, and more.

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