Originally published Sept. 23, 2021 by KVIA.com. 

By Brianna Chavez

After being cooped up at home for quite some time, Borderland doctors are starting to see more kids and teens come in with issues related to weight gain and physical education teachers are hoping to help reverse some of those effects.

According to a CDC study, obesity in kids and teens went up from 19 to 22 percent. Things like school closures, disrupted routines, and less opportunities for physical activity were all likely key factors.

Dr. Blake Bussey with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center of El Paso, who practices family medicine, said he's seeing people of all ages but especially teens and young kids when it comes to weight gain.

"Kids mimic what they see. So if us as parents are showing them bad behaviors, they're gonna mimic those behaviors," he said.

"We're trying to make sure they're active, they're having fun. They're working on their mobility, their coordination, their strength. Basically, we're trying to introduce them to the fundamentals of sports," said Joel Olivas, phys ed coach at Jose Damian Elementary School in the Canutillo Independent School District.

"We're trying our best to keep the kids engaged for the entire 45 minutes that they're out here just to get as much physical activity as they can."

Olivas said schools nurses warned him that he could see two issues. One was rapid weight gain among students and the other was related to posture since so many kids weren't active during remote learning.

ABC-7 spoke to Olivas last year during the height of the pandemic who at the time, said the goal was to help kids keep their excitement about p.e. even while at home. Now he says it's all about getting them moving as much and as safely as possible.

"We are starting to implement some after school activities like tennis and archery...just to get them out of the house," Olivas said. "A lot of these kids did spend about a year maybe a year and a half inside, not able to get a lot of different ways to get to be active so we're trying our best."

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    ‘Keep the kids engaged’: El Paso phys ed coach outlines challenges of pandemic weight gain
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    ‘Keep the kids engaged’: El Paso phys ed coach outlines challenges of pandemic weight gain
    With childhood obesity rates rising as a result of the pandemic, school physical education teachers are working to get students on the road to regain their fitness.
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