PRINCETON, WV (WVNS)– More screen time and less exercise is causing rising obesity rates in children, according to local physicians.

Dr. Michelle Holt, Director of Nursing at Concord University said she is seeing higher numbers compared to when the pandemic started.

“In 2017 and 2020 there was about 14.7 million children and adolescents struggling with obesity,” Dr. Holt said.

Now, there are some doctors who are recommending prescription medication to aid children with weight loss. Dr. Holt said she does not agree with this method.

“I don’t believe medication is the first go to, I think that should be a last resort,” Dr. Holt said.

Tisha James, a Nutritionist with Princeton Community Hospital, agrees with Dr. Holt. She said in her 25 years of practice, the patients she sees are getting younger.

“And it seems like the ages are getting a bit younger and younger I think we’ve seen outpatients as young as 6, 7 maybe 9 for weight issues,” James said.

James reiterated medication should be a very last resort. She said there are better options including family bonding.

“Let’s do a family approach, not just point the child or the teen out let’s do a family approach, family meals family activities less tv, let’s go for a walk before I would recommend medication,” James said.