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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Contrasts and ambivalences in French parents’ experiences regarding changes in eating and cooking behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown

AUTHOR(S)
Kaat Philippe; Sylvie Issanchou; Sandrine Monnery-Patris

Published: September 2021   Journal: Food Quality and Preference
Using open-ended questions, this study explored parents’ experiences regarding changes in their family’s food-related behaviours during the first COVID-19 lockdown in France (March-May 2020). Parents (N=498, 72% mothers) of children aged 3-12 years described which food-related changes they (1) perceived as positive during the lockdown, (2) perceived as negative, and (3) would like to maintain after the lockdown. A thematic analysis revealed that parents appreciated the choice of more local, fresh foods, the time to prepare food (home-made dishes, new recipes) and cooking and eating together with the family. In contrast, some parents highlighted a burden imposed by the increased food preparation at home. They also described a higher intake of unhealthy, palatable food (or the temptation to do so), and weight concerns. Parents would like to maintain their choice of local, fresh foods, and to continue spending more time together around food but doubt the feasibility after the lockdown. The results revealed many inter- and intra-individual contrasts in parents’ answers. An ambivalent attitude toward food pleasure was demonstrated: the sensory/commensal pleasure of eating versus the concerns about an increased intake of pleasurable food. Additionally, gender differences were observed: mothers perceived the preparation of additional meals, for example, more often as a burden than fathers. This study revealed intimate perceptions of the impact of the lockdown on eating habits in families. They give insight into possible facilitators and barriers (e.g., time) for the adoption of recommended eating and cooking behaviours in families, beyond the pandemic.
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.
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.

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.

Parenting during COVID-19: a study of parents' experiences across gender and income levels

AUTHOR(S)
Margaret L. Kerr; Hannah F. Rasmussen; Kerrie A. Fanning (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Family Relations

This study describes parenting experiences at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and examines differences across parent gender and family income level. The COVID-19 pandemic had unprecedented impacts on families. Many parents faced employment changes, including job loss, reduced pay, and working remotely, while simultaneously experiencing increased childcare responsibilities due to school and childcare closures. Research is needed to document the ongoing impact of these changes on parents and families. An online convenience sample of parents (N = 1,009) reported on their parenting experiences during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020) in an online survey.

The relationship between common mental disorders (CMDs), food insecurity and domestic violence in pregnant women during the COVID-19 lockdown in Cape Town, South Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Zulfa Abrahams; Sonet Boisits; Marguerite Schneider (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

This study aimed to explore the relationship between common mental disorders (CMDs), food insecurity and experiences of domestic violence among pregnant women attending public sector midwife obstetric units and basic antenatal care clinics in Cape Town during the COVID-19 lockdown. Perinatal women, attending 14 healthcare facilities in Cape Town, were enrolled in the study during baseline data collection before the COVID-19 lockdown. During the lockdown period, fieldworkers telephonically contacted the perinatal women who were enrolled in the study and had provided contact details. The following data were collected from those who consented to the study: socio-demographic information, mental health assessment, food insecurity status and experiences of domestic violence. Poisson regression was used to model the associations of a number of risk factors with the occurrence of CMDs.

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.
The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2021

This year’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) summarizes the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020 and offers some indication of what hunger and malnutrition would look like by 2030, in a scenario further complicated by the enduring effects of the pandemic. Nearly one-tenth of the world population – up to 811 million people went hungry in 2020. After remaining virtually unchanged for five years, world hunger increased last year. Further, it is projected that around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030, 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred, due to lasting effects of COVID-19 on global food security. The setback makes the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal for zero hunger and ending all forms of malnutrition more challenging. The report indicates that progress has been made for some forms of malnutrition, but the world is not on track to achieve any global nutrition targets by 2030. Globally, 44 percent of infants under 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed in 2019 – up from 37 percent in 2012 but the practice varies considerably among regions. Child malnutrition still persists at an alarming rate –an estimated 149 million children were stunted, 45 million were wasted and 39 million were overweight in 2020. The report presents new projections of potential additional cases of child stunting and wasting due to COVID-19. Based on a conservative scenario, it is projected that an additional 22 million children in low- and middle-income countries will be stunted, an additional 40 million will be wasted between 2020 and 2030 due to the pandemic. Comprehensive and urgent efforts are required to address the detrimental effects of the pandemic and achieve the 2030 global targets.

The race against COVID-19: outpacing the pandemic for children in Senegal
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: July 2021

Since the first identified case on 2 March 2020 until 13 July 2021, more than 1,200 people have lost their lives, meaning that too many boys and girls suffered the tragic and permanent loss of a grandparent, parent, caregiver or loved one. More than 46,860 persons tested positive, implying that and even greater number of loved ones might have fallen ill, making it hard for them to care for family, keep plans or sustain employment. Meanwhile, almost every household in Senegal was affected by restrictions designed to contain the first wave. While the strict measures were largely successful in limiting the spread of the virus, they also affected key sectors of the economy, disrupted supply chains and markets, and affected both the demand for, and availability of, social services. Essentially, COVID-19 impacted almost every aspect of life, particularly in the first quarter of 2020, which we now recognize as the first “leg” in a multi-year, planet-wide marathon to outpace the pandemic. With the closure of schools and disruption of many basic services, child protection mechanisms also lapsed, triggering a crisis for children with considerable socio-economic costs.

School feeding and food and nutrition security in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic in the northern region of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

AUTHOR(S)
Ana Eliza Port Lourenço; Naiara Sperandio; Priscila Vieira Pontes (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Food Ethics
Due to the pandemic and the suspension of in-person school classes, there was an interruption in the meals served to approximately 40 million students who benefited from the Brazilian National School Feeding Program (PNAE). This article describes two case studies, comparing the strategies adopted by two municipalities for maintaining school feeding during the Covid-19 pandemic in the northern region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and discuss possible impacts of these strategies on food and nutrition security. These municipalities together cover about 81% of the population in the region.
Women’s perceptions about changes in food-related behaviors at home during COVID-19 pandemic in Chile

AUTHOR(S)
María-Fernanda Jara; Barbara Leyton; Carla Cuevas (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Public Health Nutrition

This paper aims to explore women’s perceptions of changes in specific food habits at home, specifically the food budget and shopping, and food preparation, during the COVID-19 period. Non-probabilistic, exploratory study. Participants completed an online self-administered questionnaire. Perceptions of food habit changes were measured on a five-point Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Data analysis was conducted in STATA v16.0.

The impact of COVID-19 on household food insecurity and interlinkages with child feeding practices and poping strategies in Uttar Pradesh, India

AUTHOR(S)
Shivani Kachwaha; Phuong Nguyen; Anjali Pant (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has profound negative impacts on people's lives, but little is known on the effect of COVID-19 on household food insecurity (HFI) in poor setting resources. This study aimed to assess the changes in HFI during the pandemic and examine the interlinkages between HFI with child feeding practices and coping strategies in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 5 | Issue: Supplement 2 | No. of pages: 1 | Language: English | Topics: Child Poverty, Nutrition | Tags: child nutrition, child poverty, COVID-19 response, household food security, lockdown, social distance, social inequality | Countries: India
Food insecurity and affecting factors in households with children during the Covid-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Gizem Deniz Bulucu Büyüksoy; Aslıhan Çatıker; Kamuran Özdil

Published: June 2021   Journal: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness

This study aims to examine the incidence of food insecurity and affecting factors in households with children in Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants were recruited by the snowball sampling method and the data were collected via a link sent to their smart mobile phones through their social media accounts. This study included 211 households with at least one child.

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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.