Maine Voices: For many kids, distance learning makes healthy eating a lot harder

When schools closed in response to COVID-19, educational platforms, websites and applications became a daily part of students’ lives. Homes replaced school buildings, and computers replaced classrooms.

Maine recently secured internet access for students facing connectivity issues so all students can learn remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Many Maine school districts are adopting hybrid models this school year. In Portland, about 10 percent of students are expected to learn remotely full time. Depending on the school, the rest may attend classes in person for several days a week while learning online the others.

Distance learning can protect students from the immediate threat of COVID-19. But students’ increased use of digital learning tools could exacerbate another, long-term public health problem: diet-related disease.

The COVID-19 crisis has made clear that our diets are putting us in danger. Patients with obesity, diabetes and hypertension are more vulnerable to the virus, meaning that healthy

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