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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Asia and the Pacific regional overview of food security and nutrition 2020: maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition
This is the third annual report jointly written by United Nations agencies on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 2 – Zero Hunger) and the World Health Assembly 2030 targets for nutrition in the Asia and Pacific region. The first part of this report tracks progress on key SDG 2 indicators and World Health Assembly targets up to 2019. The second part of the report focuses on challenges and possible solutions to improve maternal and child diets in the Asia and Pacific region.
Measuring and mitigating child hunger in the UK

AUTHOR(S)
Aveek Bhattacharya; Jake Shepherd

Published: December 2020
Food insecurity, and particularly child hunger, has been a source of growing social and political concern for the best part of a decade. There are fears that COVID-19, and the economic shutdowns brought in its wake, will make it even worse. That has drawn substantial public attention to the issue – not least as a result of a high-profile campaign from Marcus Rashford and his Child Food Poverty Taskforce and subsequent changes in Government policy on support for children in England on free school meals through the school holidays. Campaigners have long argued that there is inadequate data on food insecurity and child hunger in the UK. In 2019, the Government incorporated a battery of questions on the topic into its Family Resources Survey. However, the 2019/20 results will not be published until March 2021, and it will be 2022 until we have data covering the period of the pandemic. In this report, we attempt to fill that breach, providing initial findings on the level of food insecurity in the UK, as well as the impact of the pandemic.
Pre-pandemic influences on Kenyan girls’ transitions to adulthood during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Meghan Bellerose; Maryama Diaw; Jessie Pinchof (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Girlhood Studies
COVID-19 containment measures have left adolescent girls in Nairobi, Kenya vulnerable to negative educational, economic, and secondary health outcomes that threaten their safe transitions into adulthood. In June 2020, the Population Council conducted phone-based surveys with 856 girls aged between 10 and 19 in 5 informal settlements who had been surveyed prior to COVID-19 as part of five longitudinal studies. We performed bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between COVID-19 outcomes and potential protective or risk factors. We found that younger girls are experiencing high levels of food insecurity and difficulty learning from home during school closures, while many older girls face the immediate risk of dropping out of school permanently and have been forgoing needed health services.
Impact of Covid-19 on youth in the Lake Chad region

AUTHOR(S)
Josaphat Tchetan Awo

Institution: Plan International
Published: December 2020

The crisis affecting the Lake Chad Basin is one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world, having displaced more than 2.4 million people, half of whom are children. Most are internally-displaced but this number also includes refugees and returnees. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people living in humanitarian contexts are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and will continue to feel the post-pandemic impacts. For people living in areas with weak health systems, disrupted social support networks, and ongoing conflict and instability, the coronavirus is an additional crisis that they have to face and adapt to. Within this population, youth face increased vulnerability. Youth groups however, provide a critical voice for accountability at the community, state/district and national level. In addition, most youth groups tend to be self-led, volunteer-based, internally-funded and informal with little to no structure. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on nations’ economies, the pressure for economic survival is heightened for this group who already face bleak employment or income generation prospects. Beyond the impact on youth as individuals, there’s a threat to their ability to contribute to community building through youth groups, as their focus shifts to economic survival. This report seeks to highlight the effects of the pandemic on young people, and how they are facing their future.

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.
Food insecurity in households with young children: a test of contextual congruence

AUTHOR(S)
Justin T. Denney; Mackenzie Brewer; Rachel Tolbert Kimbro

Published: October 2020   Journal: Social Science & Medicine
Household food insecurity, an inability to provide adequate nutrition for a healthy, active lifestyle, affects nearly 1 in 7 households with children in the United States. Though rates of food insecurity declined to pre-recession levels just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now once again increasing. As a result, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, millions of young children continue to grow up in households that struggle daily with a problem that is often associated with the developing world. The result is both immediate and long- term health and development deficits for children.
Disaster risk reduction in times of COVID-19: What have we learned?

AUTHOR(S)
Wirya Khim

Published: August 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has more than ever shown the changing risk environment, as well as the systemic and overlaying nature of risks that affect and threaten all sectors. It has reinforced the call for multi-sectoral, multi-hazard and preventive and anticipatory approaches that consistently integrate disaster, climate and crisis risk management for strengthening the resilience of people, their agricultural livelihoods and the ecosystems they depend on in a sustainable manner. In her opinion paper, FAO Natural Resources Officer Wirya Khim discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture and food systems through a disaster risk reduction lens and offers some key lessons learned that are geared toward evidence-based and risk-informed interventions for inclusive, resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Child poverty, food insecurity, and respiratory health during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ian P Sinha; Alice R Lee; Davara Bennett (et al.)

Published: June 2020   Journal: Lancet Respir Med
The eradication of poverty and hunger are the top sustainable development goals, adopted by UN Member States in 2015. Yet the World Food Programme estimates that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, acute food insecurity could double from 135 to 265 million people worldwide. In the absence of mitigating policies, poverty leading to food insecurity will damage the respiratory health of a generation of children.
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.

Urban fod systems and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide, affecting the food security and nutrition of urban populations. With up to 70% of the global food supply destined for urban consumption, the disruption of urban food systems has particularly affected the food distribution and the food retail sectors. The management of the crisis by city and local governments can therefore play a major role in preventing the spread of the virus and, at the same time, in mitigating the disruptions in their food systems and any negative effects on vulnerable populations. It was consequently deemed very important for FAO to map the municipal responses to the emergency, and to analyze progress and setbacks in managing disruptions in the urban food systems and related implications for food security and nutrition. Such understanding will strengthen the evidence-base on which countries will build policies and programmes dealing with the crisis and its effects. It will also provide valuable information on how to strengthen the performance and resilience of urban food systems.
Food systems and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
The COVID-19 pandemic points out some changes in the consumption patterns of the population. It appears that consumers have tended to prefer less nutritious, less fresh and more economical diets. Such a decision could be explained by a significant decrease in household income and the mobility restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Healthy eating minimises the risk of disease. That hasn't changed during the pandemic. Governments' initiatives must, therefore, aim at a healthier diet, ensuring access to fresh and nutritious products for people, promoting communication campaigns that value healthy eating and, finally, facilitating the marketing of fresh and quality products produced locally by small and medium producers
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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.