New Study: 'Climate Change' Is to Blame for Childhood Obesity


All of the problems we face today can be traced to one of two evils: systemic racism and climate change. If only we were able to rid the planet of these societal ills, we could live harmoniously.

Not really.

In a recently published study in the science journal Temperature, writer Shawnda Morrison makes the unlikely connection between climate change and childhood obesity. As the earth warms, she argues, children are more apt to stay indoors and they’re just not getting the 60 minutes of exercise each day that the World Health Organization recommends.

In addition to rising temperatures, other direct effects of climate change, such as increased precipitation, droughts, floods, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters combine to prevent children from spending more time outdoors. She does, however, acknowledge that the COVID-19 lockdowns contributed to this trend.

Morrison claims, “Longitudinal research reveals that children have 30% lower aerobic fitness than their parents did at the same age.”

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She suggests “maintaining adequate childhood fitness as a climate change countermeasure.”

Of course, all of this is absurd and it’s hard to believe people actually get paid to conduct these studies.

Do you believe that climate change causes obesity?

First, as Morrison tells us herself, the average temperature in the period between 2011-2020 was just 1.09’C (less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average temperature observed between 1850-1900. Do you think that two degrees of heat would keep a child indoors?

Morrison is correct that children today spend too much time indoors. No doubt the inactivity forced upon people of all ages during the pandemic added to obesity. But the lockdowns only accelerated a trend that was well-established long before the Wuhan Institute of Virology began even collecting specimens of coronaviruses.

While blaming a 1.09’C rise in the temperature for children remaining indoors, she ignores other factors, such as the role of technology. The advent of video games in the 1970s and 1980s, the increased use of personal computers in the 1990s and the explosion in cellphone use among adolescents in the early 2000s all played a role.

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A Centers for Disease Prevention and Control graph measured trends in obesity among children in three age groups: 2-5, 6-11 and 12-19. It shows obesity across all groups remaining flat at approximately 5 percent until the early 1970s. Over the next 30 years, the rates in every category skyrocketed to an average of 17 percent. It’s possible that the hypergrowth in fast-food franchises drove up the rate as well.

From there, the rates vary by age group.

Another CDC study uncovered the variations in obesity rates between races. “Obesity prevalence was 26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.”

Conversely, MarketWatch reported on a study that found obesity may be contributing to climate change. “Obesity is blamed for approximately 20% more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to people considered to have normal weight.”

According to MarketWatch, “Researchers in this recent study found that global obesity was estimated to contribute to an extra 700 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or about 1.6% of all man-made emissions.”

So is obesity causing climate change or is climate change causing obesity?

Suffice to say, there are many reasons for the increase in childhood obesity. But as I see it, the least plausible of all is climate change.

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Elizabeth writes commentary for The Western Journal and The Washington Examiner. Her articles have appeared on many websites, including MSN, RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist and RealClearPolitics. Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Elizabeth is a contract writer at The Western Journal. Her articles have appeared on many conservative websites including RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist,, HotAir, MSN and RealClearPolitics.

Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter.