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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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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.
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.

COVID-19-induced disruptions of school feeding services exacerbate food insecurity in Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Kibrom A. Abay; Mulubrhan Amare; Luca Tiberti (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: The Journal of Nutrition
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and associated lockdown measures have disrupted educational and nutrition services globally. Understanding the overall and differential impacts of disruption of nutritional(school feeding) services is critical for designing effective post-COVID-19 recovery policies.Objectives:The aim of this study was to examine the impact of COVID-19-induced disruption of school feeding services on household food security in Nigeria.
Maintaining essential nutrition services to underfive children in Yemen: a programmatic adaptation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ferima Coulibaly-Zerbo; Ayoub Al-Jawaldeh; Zita C. Weise Prinzo (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Children
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that, as health services divert their attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, the delivery of essential nutrition services may be compromised. This impact may be more pronounced in the context of humanitarian crises, such as the one currently unfolding in Yemen. In line with Pillar 9 of the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, this paper reports on the nutrition program adaptations in Yemen to maintain the delivery of essential nutrition services to under-five children. The process of adaptation focused on the services provided within the nutrition surveillance system (NSS), therapeutic feeding centers (TFC), and isolation units (IU).
Disaster management and school nutrition: a qualitative study of emergency feeding during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Emily Vaterlaus Patten; Lori Spruance; J. Mitchell Vaterlaus

Published: April 2021   Journal: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

School nutrition programs mitigate child food insecurity across the United States. With the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, kindergarten through grade 12 physical school campuses closed, which led to those programs transitioning to emergency feeding. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction has 4 action priorities that guided the assessment of school nutrition employees’ emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study's aim was to explore the experience of school nutrition employees as they provided emergency feeding services during the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluate their actions based on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction .

Reorienting nurturing care for early childhood development during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya: a review

AUTHOR(S)
Constance Shumba; Rose Maina; Gladys Mbuthia (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
In Kenya, millions of children have limited access to nurturing care. With the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is anticipated that vulnerable children will bear the biggest brunt of the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic. This review aimed to deepen understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on nurturing care from conception to four years of age, a period where the care of children is often delivered through caregivers or other informal platforms. The review has drawn upon the empirical evidence from previous pandemics and epidemics, and anecdotal and emerging evidence from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Multifactorial impacts fall into five key domains: direct health; health and nutrition systems; economic protection; social and child protection; and child development and early learning. The review proposes program and policy strategies to guide the reorientation of nurturing care, prevent the detrimental effects associated with deteriorating nurturing care environments, and support the optimal development of the youngest and most vulnerable children. These include the provision of cash transfers and essential supplies for vulnerable households and strengthening of community-based platforms for nurturing care.
Addressing food insecurity through a health equity lens: a case study of large urban school districts during the COVID-19 pandemics
Institution: The Lancet
Published: September 2020   Journal: Journal of Urban Health
Reduced access to school meals during public health emergencies can accelerate food insecurity and nutritional status, particularly for low-income children in urban areas. To prevent the exacerbation of health disparities, there is a need to understand the implementation of meal distribution among large urban school districts during emergencies and to what degree these strategies provide equitable meal access. This case study of four large urban school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic aims to address these knowledge gaps. Guided by the Getting to Equity (GTE) framework, this mixed-methods study evaluates emergency meal distribution and strategy implementation in four large urban school districts (Chicago Public Schools, Houston Independent School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, and New York City Department of Education).
Emergency food provision for children and families during the COVID‐19 pandemic: examples from five U.S. cities

AUTHOR(S)
Becca B. R. Jablonski; Joy Casnovsky; Jill K. Clark (et al.)

Published: September 2020   Journal: Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy
As lockdown and school closure policies were implemented in response to the coronavirus, the federal government provided funding and relaxed its rules to support emergency food provision, but not guidance on best practices for effectiveness. Accordingly, cities developed a diverse patchwork of emergency feeding programs. This article uses qualitative data to provide insight into emergency food provision developed in five cities to serve children and families. Based on our qualitative analysis, we find that the effectiveness of local approaches appears to depend on: (i) cross‐sector collaboration, (ii) supply chains, and (iii) addressing gaps in service to increased risk populations.
Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Africa
In addition to its drastic impact to human health globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the economies globally and notably in Africa. Countries on the continent have taken various measures to try and contain the spread of COVID-19 such as lockdowns, curfews, closure of borders and other movement restrictions including quarantines and roadblocks, closure of markets, fear of animals, among others. Early indications suggest that the impact on agriculture and food security and levels of poverty and malnutrition will be significant if urgent actions are not taken. Although the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be more significant than the SARS epidemic, the H1N1 flu epidemic and the Ebola epidemic, COVID-19 impact on economic well-being will be observed through two distinct but similar channels. First are the direct and indirect effects of the sickness and mortality, which will lead to an increase in health care costs and loss of economic activity of infected individuals during their illness. Second, are the behavioral effects resulting from people’s fear of contagion and measures taken by governments to control the spread of the infection. The impacts of essential containment/isolation and distancing measures on social and economic well-being are yet to be realized and could have tremendous effects, notably among the most vulnerable.
Addressing the consequences of school closure due to COVID-19 on children's physical and mental well-being

AUTHOR(S)
Jessica A. Hoffman; Edward A. Miller

Published: August 2020   Journal: World Medical & Health Policy
This article focuses on the physical and emotional toll resulting from school closures and the withdrawal of nonacademic supports that students rely on. The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on how important schools are for meeting children's nonacademic needs.
FAO-WFP early warning analysis of acute food insecurity hotspots

This FAO-WFP early warning analysis of acute food insecurity hotspots report highlights countries which are at risk of significant food security deterioration and in particular acute hunger and associated malnutrition. The analysis takes into account all major drivers of food insecurity, with a particular focus on the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a forward-looking perspective, outlining the likely evolution of impacts over the next 6 or so months aiming to inform urgent action to safeguard food security of the most vulnerable communities in these locations. The report is divided into three sections. It firstly includes an overview of the main pathways of secondary impacts of COVID-19 on food security, nutrition, and agriculture. This is followed by regional overviews and a focus on hotspot countries. The last section lists strategic recommendations which should be urgently implemented to avoid a large scale deterioration of acute food insecurity.

Proyecto: Responder a las necesidades immediatas de los migrantes/refugiados de Venezuela en el contexto del COVID-19
Institution: CARE, World Vision, Save the Children
Published: July 2020
Las condiciones de vida de las y los migrantes venezolanos han empeorado en el actual contexto de pandemia. Las evaluaciones realizadas por los organismos asociados muestran que la mayoría de las familias venezolanas no han tenido ingresos desde que comenzó la inmovilización social obligatoria y muchas han perdido sus trabajos. Las evaluaciones confirman que el acceso a los alimentos es la principal prioridad de las familias venezolanas, y para acceder a ellos adoptan estrategias negativas como comer alimentos más baratos o menos preferidos, pedir alimentos prestados y en algunos casos, mendigar dinero para obtener alimentos.
Food system policy priorities and programmatic actions for healthy diets in the context of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply and demand shocks in the food systems, disproportionately affecting the poor and nutritionally vulnerable groups. A possible economic slowdown further compounds challenges faced by governments in tackling malnutrition in all its forms.This brief presents policy and programmatic actions adopted by countries and development partners to ensure that food and agriculture responses promote healthy diets and improve nutrition. Furthermore, this brief explains supply and demand measures, taken from recent worldwide good practices.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): addressing the impacts of COVID-19 in food crises

At the beginning of April, the 2020 edition of the Global Report on Food Crises was issued, presenting a stark warning for the future. In 2019 – prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – 135 million people experienced crisis and worse levels of acute food insecurity. A further 183 million were on the edge in stressed food security conditions – in other words, just one shock away from severe acute food insecurity. COVID-19-related restrictions risk pushing many more into crisis. As the pandemic progresses in food crisis contexts, food availability as well as food access could emerge as a serious concern – in both rural and urban areas.The Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan has been revised significantly upwards to reflect the increasingly urgent need to address non-health impacts of COVID-19. Of these needs, the food security sector represents the largest component, for a total of USD 1.6 billion. As part of this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is seeking USD 350 million to ensure the provision of critical assistance where there are already high levels of need, while meeting new needs emerging from the effects of COVID-19.

The social and economic impact of Covid-19 in the Asia-Pacific region
Institution: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
Published: April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis are posing huge challenges, raising many unknowns and imposing wrenching trade-offs. Both crises are global, but their impacts are deeply local. The policy response to both crises needs to be rapid, even if it is rough around the edges. But countries cannot pull this off on their own—the global crises require global solidarity and coordination.
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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.