JERICHO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)The so-called “quarantine 15” has turned into a weight gain of 25-30 pounds for some of the youngest Americans.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, that’s ushering in real health concerns for our children.

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Students at Robert Williams School in Jericho brag about their good habits in the classroom. But when they’re home?

“Eat junk food. Salty food. Ice cream. That’s very unhealthy,” said 12-year-old Julian Platas.

“Yeah, it happens to a lot people ’cause you have nowhere to go,” said 13-year-old Emma Singh.

COVID VACCINE

“No one has dealt with this before. Neither the parents, neither the kids, neither the teachers. We’re all trying to make it work,” said Dr. Robert Dillon, superintendent of Nassau BOCES.

“Remembering to get into those routines. When we are home, we can fall into those behaviors,” said Joanna Malament, principal of Robert Williams.

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Behaviors of inactivity and isolated time in front of computer screens leading to stress, anxiety, unhealthy eating and childhood obesity.

According to the CDC, nearly 20% of children in the United States are now obese, and the number appears to be rising.

“We are seeing an increase in childhood weight gain. We don’t like using the word diet for children,” said pediatrician Dr. Sara Siddiqui. “What I try to tell parents is to not really focus on the child themselves, to make a big family project out of it.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Recommendations include: Exercise as a family with online videos or virtual classes, create fitness challenges and games, assign calorie-burning chores and encourage outdoor play.

“Parents, in some cases, are looking at this and saying, ‘It’s really not so bad. This is a tough time.’ And they want their kids to be comfortable,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children’s Association.

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But fatty, sugary foods and drinks can jeopardize long-term health. The Family and Children’s Association is seeing a surge in virtual counseling.

Jennifer McLogan