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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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1 - 15 of 105
COVID-19-associated school closures and related efforts to sustain education and subsidized meal programs, United States, February 18–June 30, 2020

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole Zviedrite; Jeffrey D. Hodis; Ferdous Jahan (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Plos One
Pre-emptive school closures are frontline community mitigation measures recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for implementation during severe pandemics. This study describes the spatiotemporal patterns of publicly announced school closures implemented in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and assesses how public K-12 districts adjusted their methods of education delivery and provision of subsidized meals. During February 18–June 30, 2020, it used daily systematic media searches to identify publicly announced COVID-19–related school closures lasting ≥1 day in the United States (US).
SNAP participation among low-income US households stays stagnant while food insecurity escalates in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati; Francesco Acciai; Robin S. DeWeese

Published: September 2021   Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports
The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased food-insecurity rates, particularly among low-income households. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was expected to rise in response. This study surveyed 931 US residents from households with annual incomes below $50,000 to collect information on food security and food assistance program participation in the year prior to the pandemic and in the first four months of the pandemic, along with household and individual-level demographics. Food insecurity increased from 31% prior to the pandemic to 39% in the first four months of the pandemic, while SNAP participation stagnated. Even more alarmingly, among low-income households that were also food-insecure, 47% participated in SNAP prior to the pandemic but only 39% did so in the first four months following the pandemic’s onset. In particular, Black households, households with children, and those in the lowest income category experienced the largest declines in SNAP participation. Food assistance programs designed to alleviate hunger should facilitate participation among the most vulnerable, especially when these groups are faced with multiple challenges, like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An online cross-sectional survey of complementary feeding practices during the COVID-19 restrictions in Poland

AUTHOR(S)
Andrea Horvath; Agata Stróżyk; Piotr Dziechciarz (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Nutrients
This cross-sectional online survey performed in Poland aimed to improve understanding of how COVID-19 pandemic restrictions affected complementary feeding practices among parents of infants aged 4 to 12 months. Self-selected parents were recruited through the internet. The anonymous questionnaire was opened during two intervals during COVID-19 restrictions. The primary outcome was an assessment of sources of information and infant feeding practices in the context of COVID-19 restrictions. Data from 6934 responders (92.2% mothers) were analyzed.
Breastfeeding during the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
J. P. Dadhich; Nupur Bidla

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Neonatology
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious challenge to the lactating women to practice optimal infant and young child feeding. Although international and national agencies developed appropriate evidence-based guidelines early in the pandemic, availability of this information to the mothers and their caregivers needs to be enhanced. This becomes important in view of apprehension about the risk of a decline in breastfeeding practices during the pandemic due to various factors. Any decrease in the breastfeeding rates may lead to increased childhood morbidity, mortality, and malnutrition. This article provides a glimpse of available evidence-based guidelines on breastfeeding by Covid-19 positive mothers and attempts by the baby food industry to exploit the situation by promoting their products. The article also deals with infection prevention and control measures to be observed by the mother while caring and breastfeeding her baby and other action required to protect breastfeeding from commercial influence.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on elementary schoolers' physical activity, sleep, screen time and diet: A quasi-experimental interrupted time series study

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Burkart; Hannah Parker; R. Glenn Weaver (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Pediatric Obesity

COVID-19 school closures pose a threat to children's wellbeing, but no COVID-19-related studies have assessed children's behaviours over multiple years . This study aims to examine children's obesogenic behaviours during spring and summer of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to previous data collected from the same children during the same calendar period in the 2 years prior. Physical activity and sleep data were collected via Fitbit Charge-2 in 231 children (7–12 years) over 6 weeks during spring and summer over 3 years. Parents reported their child's screen time and dietary intake via a survey on 2–3 random days/week.

Understanding patterns of food insecurity and family well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic using daily surveys

AUTHOR(S)
Samantha Steimle; Anna Gassman-Pines; Anna D. Johnson (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Development
This paper investigates economic and psychological hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic among a diverse sample (61% Latinx; 16% White; 9% Black; 14% mixed/other race) of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents (90% mothers; mean age = 35 years) and their elementary school-aged children (ages 4–11; 49% female) in rural Pennsylvania (N = 272). Families participating in a local food assistance program reported on food insecurity (FI) and parent and child mood and behavior daily from January to May 2020. Longitudinal models revealed that FI, negative parent and child mood, and child misbehavior significantly increased when schools closed; only FI and parent depression later decreased. FI decreased most among those who received the local food assistance program; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receipt uniquely predicted decreases in child FI.
The exacerbated prevalence of acute malnutrition and growth retardation in Roma children living in camps

AUTHOR(S)
Rosaria Giampaolo; Rosaria Marotta; Francesco Saverio Biagiarelli (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Italian Journal of Pediatrics

Child malnutrition is still a concern in marginalized groups of populations, such as immigrants living in very low socio-economic conditions. Roma children are within the most hard-to-reach populations, susceptible to undernutrition and growth retardation. In the city of Rome (Italy), the Hospital “Bambino Gesù”, in collaboration with the Catholic Association Community of Saint’Egidio, is dedicating free services for the health and nutritional needs of vulnerable people. A retrospective analysis was conducted on immigrant children visited at different ages (0–11 years old). Records including nutritional and growth assessment were collected from 2016 up to May 2020. Malnutrition was classified following the WHO 2006 standards. Data for Roma children living in extra-urban camps and non-Roma immigrant children living in urban areas were analyzed, odds ratios and univariate binary regressions were performed to investigate the risk of malnutrition within the two groups.

Food insecurity among households with children during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a study among social media users across the United States

AUTHOR(S)
Niyati Parekh; Shahmir H. Ali; Joyce O’Connor (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Nutrition Journal volume

In the United States, approximately 11% of households were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aims to describe the prevalence of food insecurity among adults and households with children living in the United States during the pandemic. This study utilized social media as a recruitment platform to administer an original online survey on demographics and COVID-related food insecurity. The survey was disseminated through an advertisement campaign on Facebook and affiliated platforms. Food insecurity was assessed with a validated six-item United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module, which was used to create a six-point numerical food security score, where a higher score indicates lower food security. Individual-level participant demographic information was also collected. Logistic regressions (low/very-low compared with high/marginal food security) were performed to generate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95%CIs for food insecurity and select demographic characteristics.

Predictors of breastfeeding self-efficacy during the covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Maryam Ahmad Zadeh Beheshti; Zainab Alimoradib; Nasim Bahrami (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Neonatal Nursing

Breastfeeding self-efficacy (BSE) is a strong predictor of the duration of breastfeeding. The aim of this study is to determine the predictors of BSE in breastfeeding mothers during the Covid-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 300 breastfeeding mothers who breastfed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants. A battery of online questionnaires measured sociodemographic and obstetric characteristics, breastfeeding self-efficacy, spouse postpartum social support, perceived social support, anxiety and depression, and fear of Covid-19. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficients, one-way ANOVA, and multivariable linear regression via stepwise method. The significance level in this study was α = 0.05.

Maternal attentional control moderates the association between increased depression and controlling feeding practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole R. Giuliani; Nichole R. Kelly

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Prevention and Health Promotion
Parental distress is associated with less healthful child feeding practices. This preliminary study examined how changes in distress from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with similar changes in feeding practices in a sample of mothers of preschool-aged children. In addition, it examined how pre-pandemic laboratory measures of maternal self-regulation moderated this association. A total of 36 mothers from an ongoing study on parent and child self-regulation completed surveys assessing parental distress (i.e., maternal depression, parenting stress) and child feeding practices during pandemic-related stay-at-home orders in May–June 2020.
Baby friendly hospital initiative breastfeeding outcomes in mothers with COVID-19 infection during the first weeks of the pandemic in Spain

AUTHOR(S)
Miguel A Marín Gabriel; Laura Domingo Goneche; Irene Cuadrado Pérez (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Human Lactation

Adherence to the Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has been shown to have a protective role for the initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding. This research aims: (1) To determine the breastfeeding rate during the first 6 months of life in children of mothers diagnosed with COVID-19 infection at the time of birth; and (2) to assess the possible influence of being born in a center with Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative accreditation. This was a two-group comparative longitudinal observational study of infants born to mothers with COVID-19 at the time of birth, between March 13–May 31, 2020 (the first wave of the pandemic) in Spain. Fourteen Spanish hospitals participated, five (35.7%) were Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative accredited. Type of feeding was assessed prospectively at discharge, 1, 3, and 6 months of age. A total of 248 newborns were included in the study.

Home food insecurity during the suspension of classes in Brazilian public schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Food insecurity among students in the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Érica Costa Rodrigues; Raquel de Deus Mendonça; Priscila Pena Camargo (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Nutrition

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of socioeconomic conditions and variables related to the COVID-19 pandemic on the food insecurity of students during suspension of classes in public schools. It was conducted by telephone survey (n = 612) with adults responsible for purchasing food through representative samples of students' in two Brazilian municipalities between June and July 2020.

Junk food-induced obesity- a growing threat to youngsters during the pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ankul Singh S.; Dhivya Dhanasekaran; Nila Ganamurali (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Obesity Medicine

Obesity has been declared an epidemic that does not discriminate based on age, gender, or ethnicity and thus needs urgent containment and management. Since the third wave of COVID-19 is expected to affect children the most, these children and adolescents should eat Junk foods to be more cautious during Covid situations due to the compromise of Immunity in the individuals and further exacerbating the organ damage. A pan India survey organized by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) among 13,274 children between the ages 9–14 years reported that 93% of the children ate packed food and 68% consumed packaged sweetened beverages more than once a week, and 53% ate these products at least once in a day. Almost 25% of the School going children take ultra-processed food with high levels of sugar, salt, fat, such as pizza and burgers, from fast food outlets more than once a week. Children and adolescents who consume more junk food or are addicted to such consumption might be even more vulnerable during the third wave, which will significantly affect the younger category.

Associations between food preferences, food approach, and food avoidance in a Polish adolescents’ COVID-19 experience (PLACE-19) study population

AUTHOR(S)
Dominika Guzek; Dominika Skolmowska; Dominika Głabska

Published: July 2021   Journal: Nutrients
Food preferences are among the strongest predictors of the food choices of adolescents. These are associated with appetitive traits (food approach and avoidance) to some extent. However, no research has been conducted so far analyzing the association between food preferences and appetitive traits of adolescents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the associations between food preferences and appetitive traits in adolescents (aged 15–20 years) within the Polish Adolescents’ COVID-19 Experience (PLACE-19) Study population. The PLACE-19 Study was carried out in a population-based sample of 2448 secondary school students sampled across the country (random quota sampling).
Monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on affordable diets: real-time cost of the diet and household economic analysis pilot Zinder, Niger results brief
Institution: Save the Children
Published: July 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food supply chains and economic systems worldwide. With countries facing disrupted livelihoods, restricted movements, disrupted markets, border closures and rising food prices, this study aimed to understand how these disruptions may have impacted cost and affordability of the diet. The pilot aimed to leverage existing price data to adapt the HEA and CotD methodologies for real-time monitoring of the cost and affordability of a nutritious diet changes over time in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief presents key learnings for policy makers and technical learnings for practitioners.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.