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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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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).
Children’s eating habits, physical activity, sleep, and media usage before and during COVID-19 pandemic in Poland

AUTHOR(S)
Edyta Łuszczki; Anna Bartosiewicz; Iwona Pezdan (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Nutrients
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge changes in people’s lifestyle, health, and social relationships. This situation has had an impact on children and adolescents, affecting their health, intellectual, physical, and emotional development. The survey aimed to compare eating behaviors, level of physical activity (PA), hours of sleep, and screen time among Polish children and adolescents aged 6–15 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We obtained self-reported data from 1016 participants at two measurement points before and during the COVID-19 lockdown in Poland to examine the influence of the lockdown and the distance learning on PA, dietary habits, sleep, and media usage of children and adolescents aged 6–15 years.
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.

Promises to keep: impact of COVID-19 on adolescents in Kenya

AUTHOR(S)
Julie Mwabe; Karen Austrian; Sheila Macharia

Institution: Population Council
Published: July 2021

This new report is one of the first in the world to look exclusively at the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ lives. It leverages data collected on the social, education, health, and economic effects of COVID-19 on adolescents in June 2020 and again in February 2021, and features contributions and recommendations from girls and boys who are part of advisory groups in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kilifi and Wajir counties, where the data was collected.

The young age and plant-based diet hypothesis for low SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 Pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Jack N. Losso; MerryJean N. Losso; Marco Toc (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that caused the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), in December 2019, the infection has spread around the globe. Some of the risk factors include social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing with soap, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and dysbiosis. Evidence has shown the incidence of total infection and death rates to be lower in sub-Saharan Africa when compared with North Africa, Europe and North America and many other parts of the world. The higher the metabolic syndrome rate, the higher the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Africa has a lower rate of metabolic syndrome risk than many other continents. This paradox has puzzled several in the biomedical and scientific communities. Published results of research have demonstrated the exciting correlation that the combination of young age of the population coupled with their native plant-based diet has lowered their risk factors. The plant-based diet include whole grains (millet, sorghum), legumes (black-eye peas, dry beans, soybean), vegetables, potato, sweet potato, yams, squash, banana, pumpkin seeds, and moringa leaves, and lower consumption of meat. The plant-based diet results in a different gut microbiota than of most of the rest of the world. This has a significant impact on the survival rate of other populations. The “plant-based diet” results in lower rates of obesity, diabetes and dysbiosis, which could contribute to lower and less severe infections. However, these hypotheses need to be supported by more clinical and biostatistics data.
The Janus-faced effects of COVID-19 perceptions on family healthy eating behavior: parent’s negative experience as a mediator and gender as a moderator

AUTHOR(S)
Ali B. Mahmoud; Dieu Hack-Polay; Leonora Fuxman (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
This research examines the effects of COVID-19 perceptions and negative experiences during the pandemic time on parental healthy eating behavior and whether these relationships interact with a parent’s gender. It ran a survey of parents who had at least one child aged 3 to 17 years old living in the United Kingdom.
Prevalence and changes in food-related hardships by socioeconomic and demographic groups during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: A longitudinal panel study

AUTHOR(S)
Jonathan Koltaia; Veronica Toffolutti; Martin McKee (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Food insecurity concerns have featured prominently in the UK response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study assessed changes in the prevalence of food-related hardships in the UK population from April to July 2020. It analysed longitudinal data on food-related hardships for 11,104 respondents from the April-July 2020 waves of the Understanding Society COVID-19 web survey with linked data from the 2017-9 wave of the annual Understanding Society survey. Outcome variables were reports of being hungry but not eating and of being unable to eat healthy and nutritious food in the last week, which were adapted from the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. The study used unadjusted estimates to examine changes in population prevalence and logistic regression to assess the association between employment transitions and both outcomes at the individual level.
Physical activity, sedentariness, eating behaviour and well-being during a COVID-19 lockdown period in Greek adolescents

AUTHOR(S)
Ioannis D. Morres; Evangelos Galanis; Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Nutrients
Adolescents’ daily life has dramatically changed during the COVID-19 era due to the social restrictions that have been imposed, including closures of schools, leisure centers and sport facilities. The purpose of this study was to examine levels of well-being and mood and their relations with physical (in)activity and eating behaviors in adolescents during a lockdown period in Greece. A total of 950 adolescents (Mean Age = 14.41 years ± 1.63) participated in a web-based survey while education was conducted online and organized sport activities were interrupted.
Pregnant and hungry: Addressing food insecurity in pregnant women during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States

AUTHOR(S)
Cara D. Dolin; Charlene C. Compher; Jinhee K. Oh (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Food insecurity is a major social determinant of health impacting more than 10% of Americans. Social determinants of health are increasingly recognized as a driving force of health inequities. It is well established that food insecurity leads to adverse health outcomes outside of pregnancy such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and mental health problems. However, little is known about the impact of food insecurity during pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes. Food insecurity and other social determinants of health are rarely addressed as part of routine obstetric care. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has only exacerbated the crisis of food insecurity across the country, disproportionally affecting women as well as racial and ethnic minorities. Women's health providers should implement universal screening for maternal food insecurity and offer resources to women struggling to feed themselves and their families. Reducing maternal health inequities in the US includes recognizing and addressing food insecurity, along with other social determinants of health, and advocating for public policies that support and protect all women's right to healthy food during pregnancy.
Adolescents’ experiences of covid-19 in Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, Bangladesh

AUTHOR(S)
Farhana Alam; Md Sajib Rana; Samira Ahmed Raha (et al.)

Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: April 2021

This study is part of a cross-country series designed to share emerging findings in real time from qualitative interviews with adolescents and school teachers in the context of covid-19. Our sample for this study was purposefully selected from an ongoing baseline GAGE impact evaluation study, and includes two cohorts: younger adolescents (10–14 years) and older adolescents (15–19 years), all of whom are in-school (grades 7 and 8). Adolescent respondents were drawn from both urban and rural schools in Chittagong and Sylhet divisions of Bangladesh. The objectives of the research are as follows: 1) to understand adolescents’ experiences of transition from childhood to adulthood, and to identify differences in their experiences by age, gender, disability and geographic location; 2) to identify adolescents’ knowledge of covid-19, and how the pandemic response has affected adolescent lives. To inform the pandemic response, this study aims to understand adolescents’ knowledge, perceptions and practices during the covid-19 pandemic, their challenges and worries, and the coping mechanisms they are using to deal with the evolving situation.

Sub-Saharan Africa: growing up in crisis in a world of opportunities: the lasting impact of Covid-19 on children
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the world’s population. Although it has been established that children are at lower risk of falling seriously ill with COVID-19, the pandemic has had, and continues to have, far-reaching effects on them. The pandemic poses a health crisis that has become a child rights’ crisis. It is heightening the impact of conflict and climate change on children. In sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 is exacerbating not only existing threats to the future that 550 million children face, but also measures put in place to control and contain the disease. While the arrival of the first vaccines brings hope to put an end to the pandemic, it will take time before these vaccines can reach everyone who needs them. This report sheds light on the various ways children in sub-Saharan Africa have been affected by the ongoing pandemic and how UNICEF and partners have been supporting them. The report also is a call to action to governments and the international community to take concerted action to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures, and build forward a better world fit for children.

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis: Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19. 

Revisiting the impact of covid-19 on adolescents in urban slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh: round 2

AUTHOR(S)
Samira Ahmed Raha; Md. Sajib Rana; Saklain Al Mamun Al Mamun (et al.)

Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: March 2021

This research is part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme, a nine-year, mixed methods longitudinal research and evaluation programme following the lives of 20,000 adolescents in six low- and middle-income countries. BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH) and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) partnered to carry out rapid-response research in Dhaka to gain an understanding of vulnerable and underprivileged adolescents’ lives during the pandemic. This policy brief presents findings from the second round of data collection which included 30 in-depth interviews with adolescents living in three sites in Dhaka. Findings show inequalities in access to and continuation of distance education, negative effects in psychosocial well-being, unequal access to digital connectivity, financial constraints, with inequalities between different socio-economic classes, gender and age groups, which put them at risk of discontinuing education, entering into child labour and also early marriage.

Working children in crisis-hit Lebanon: exploring the linkages between food insecurity and child labour
Food insecurity has increased significantly in Lebanon during the past year; nearly 97% of the Syrian refugees on Lebanese soil are marginally or completely food insecure. Food basednegative coping mechanisms have also increased and infant and young child feeding practices have deteriorated. Food is the main expenditure for the most vulnerable households. According to the last available figure on this topic (2016), at least 100,000 children were working in Lebanon and this trend is expected increase. The objective of this report is to draw attention to the linkage between food insecurity and child labour, and its recent evolution in Lebanon. ACF and IRC developed questionnaires and interviewed 648 individuals between July and September 2020 in the Bekaa, Beirut, North and South Lebanon. The interviewees were mostly Syrian refugees but also Lebanese individuals and working children were included. The survey findings were complemented by existing research findings from NRC and CAMEALEON and data from the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC).
Direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Asia

Over recent decades, South Asia has made remarkable progress in improving the health of mothers and children. But the year 2020 brought a great shock to South Asia, as it did to the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had major and multiple impacts – both direct and indirect. One of the critical indirect impacts has been severe disruptions to the delivery and use of routine services, including essential health and nutrition services. The region saw significant drops in the use of both preventive and curative services. Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia uses a series of exercises based on actual observed changes in services and intervention coverage to model impacts on mortality, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions due to COVID-19. It also models the impact of nationwide stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 on maternal and child mortality, educational attainment of children, and the region’s economy. The study focuses on South Asia’s six most populous countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and makes the case for interventions and strategies to minimise these indirect consequences.

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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.