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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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School meal access and changes in meal participation during COVID-19 school closures: a stratified random sample of CalFresh healthy living eligible school districts in California

AUTHOR(S)
Kaela Plank; Sridharshi Hewawitharana; Evan Talmage (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports
The National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs are a nutrition safety net for millions of children in the United States, particularly children in households with lower incomes. During Spring 2020 COVID-19 school closures, schools served school meals through the Summer Meal Programs. Despite efforts to increase access, meal participation declined, and food insecurity increased. This study aimed to (1) describe meal program features as communicated in low-income California school districts’ on-line resources (2) examine associations between meal program features and change in meal participation between May 2019 and May 2020 and (3) evaluate equity by describing meal site coverage and placement relative to the size of priority populations.
Food and beverage offerings by parents of preschoolers: a daily survey study of dinner offerings during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Jennifer M. Barton

Published: April 2022   Journal: Appetite
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have altered parents' daily feeding practices, including what and how much they feed their children, which may have negative implications for children's weight. The primary aim of this study was to examine patterns of and variation in parents' daily food and beverage offerings at dinner across 10 days during the COVID-19 pandemic using descriptive analysis and non-parametric tests. Ninety-nine parents (Mage = 32.90, SDage = 5.60) of children ages 2–4 years (M = 2.82, SD = 0.78) completed an online baseline survey and 10 daily surveys (929 completed surveys) assessing their daily food and beverage offerings at dinner. On average, parents did not offer recommended foods and beverages on a daily basis; parents offered vegetables and protein most often across the 10 days, however, less than 50% of parents offered the recommended serving size for each group.
Measuring food insecurity during the Young Lives COVID-19 phone surveys

AUTHOR(S)
Douglas Scott

Institution: Young Lives
Published: March 2022

Throughout Young Lives, This study has provided various measures of food insecurity. These include the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), developed by the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA) (Coates, Swindale, and Bilinsky 2007), but also stand-alone questions, such as ‘Was there ever no food to eat in your household because of a lack of money?’ which was employed across different survey rounds in all four Young Lives study countries: Ethiopia, India (the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Listening to Young Lives at Work was conducted: COVID-19 phone survey to record the experiences of young people during the outbreak. To estimate food insecurity in the four study countries the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) (Cafiero, Viviani, and Nord 2018) have been utilised . This technical note provides information on how estimates of food insecurity were calculated using the FIES approach, in a manner comparable to the methods used by the FAO to inform the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) food security indicator.

Food security and diets in urban Asia: how resilient are food systems in times of COVID-19?

AUTHOR(S)
Heather Ohly; Martyn Clark; Sonja Read (et al.)

Institution: World Food Programme
Published: February 2022
Vulnerable populations in urban areas globally have been among the worst hit by the global COVID-19 crisis. In South and South-East Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased levels of vulnerability and food insecurity in cities through disruptions to food supply chains, increased food prices and loss of income. In 2021, the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBB) and Dikoda undertook an assessment to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on food systems in eight selected cities in the Asia/Pacific region. This research assesses the resilience and adaptability of urban food systems by exploring external drivers, food supply chains, food environments, individual factors, consumer behaviour and diet outcomes. The report triangulates findings between qualitative research carried out by Dikoda, WFP assessments and external sources to provide regional insights, as well as eight city-specific briefs on local-level impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerabilities. This report presents recommendations for improving policy-response to external shocks specific to urban South and South-East Asian contexts and methodological recommendations for better tracking of vulnerability in urban contexts.
Levels and trends in child malnutrition : UNICEF, WHO, World Bank Group Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates : key findings of the 2021 edition
Institution: *UNICEF, World Health Organization, The World Bank
Published: May 2021
The UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank inter-agency team update the joint global and regional estimates of malnutrition among children under 5 years of age each year. These estimates of prevalence and numbers affected for child stunting, overweight, wasting and severe wasting are derived for the global population as well as by regional groupings of United Nations (UN) regions and sub-regions, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), UNICEF, WHO and World Bank regions, as well as World Bank country-income group classifications.
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 .

Revisiting maternal and child undernutrition in low-income and middle-income countries: variable progress towards an unfinished agenda

AUTHOR(S)
Cesar G. Victora; Parul Christian; Luis Paulo Vidaletti (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: The Lancet
13 years after the first Lancet Series on maternal and child undernutrition, we reviewed the progress achieved on the basis of global estimates and new analyses of 50 low-income and middle-income countries with national surveys from around 2000 and 2015. The prevalence of childhood stunting has fallen, and linear growth faltering in early life has become less pronounced over time, markedly in middle-income countries but less so in low-income countries. Stunting and wasting remain public health problems in low-income countries, where 4·7% of children are simultaneously affected by both, a condition associated with a 4·8-times increase in mortality. New evidence shows that stunting and wasting might already be present at birth, and that the incidence of both conditions peaks in the first 6 months of life. Global low birthweight prevalence declined slowly at about 1·0% a year. Knowledge has accumulated on the short-term and long-term consequences of child undernutrition and on its adverse effect on adult human capital. Existing data on vitamin A deficiency among children suggest persisting high prevalence in Africa and south Asia. Zinc deficiency affects close to half of all children in the few countries with data. New evidence on the causes of poor growth points towards subclinical inflammation and environmental enteric dysfunction. Among women of reproductive age, the prevalence of low body-mass index has been reduced by half in middle-income countries, but trends in short stature prevalence are less evident. Both conditions are associated with poor outcomes for mothers and their children, whereas data on gestational weight gain are scarce. Data on the micronutrient status of women are conspicuously scarce, which constitutes an unacceptable data gap. Prevalence of anaemia in women remains high and unabated in many countries. Social inequalities are evident for many forms of undernutrition in women and children, suggesting a key role for poverty and low education, and reinforcing the need for multisectoral actions to accelerate progress. Despite little progress in some areas, maternal and child undernutrition remains a major global health concern, particularly as improvements since 2000 might be offset by the COVID-19 pandemic.
State of school feeding worldwide 2020
Institution: World Food Programme
Published: February 2021
This publication by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides an analysis of the State of School Feeding Worldwide in 2020. A report on the State of School Feeding Worldwide was first published by WFP in 2013. This 2020 version follows a similar format and uses the best available data sources to describe key aspects of coverage, implementation practices and costs of school-based health and nutrition programmes worldwide. In addition, the 2020 version seeks to analyse the direction and scale of change between 2013 and 2020, and to provide an update on advances in evidence and understanding of school feeding programmes.
Nutrition action in schools: a review of evidence related to the nutrition-friendly schools initiative
Institution: World Health Organisation
Published: January 2021
Good nutrition during childhood and adolescence is key to ensuring optimal growth, health and well-being. Healthy dietary practices in early life have an immediate impact on healthy growth and help prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) later in life and across generations. Good nutrition in childhood is also good for school performance and educational outcomes, impacting on nations’ economic and social development. Since children spend so much time in school, the school environment is an important setting for children to acquire habits, skills and knowledge related to healthy diets and physical activity. In 2016-17, the vast majority of countries (89%) reported implementation of school health and nutrition programmes although inclusion of a comprehensive set of interventions was rare and implementation of such programmes appears to have weakened since the start of the decade.
A hidden side of the COVID-19 pandemic in children: the double burden of undernutrition and overnutrition

AUTHOR(S)
Boutaina Zemrani; Mario Gehri; Eric Masserey (et al.)

Published: January 2021   Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health volume
The COVID-19 pandemic has deteriorated key determinants of health and caused major upheavals around the world. Children, although less directly affected by the virus, are paying a heavy price through the indirect effects of the crisis, including poor diet, mental health impact, social isolation, addiction to screens and lack of schooling and health care, particularly among vulnerable groups. This paper is aimed at discussing the potential impact of this pandemic on children’s nutrition and lifestyle. Preliminary data from the literature and from our survey show significant disruptions in nutrition and lifestyle habits of children. While undernutrition is expected to worsen in poor countries, obesity rates could increase in middle- and high-income countries especially among precarious groups widening the gap in health and social inequalities. The real impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children extends well beyond that of a viral infection. This crisis has public health implications that could have life-long consequences on children. It requires effective and targeted measures mainly for vulnerable children and households to guarantee children’s basic rights for optimal nutrition, health and development.
Maintaining human milk bank services throughout the COVID‐19 pandemic: a global response

AUTHOR(S)
Natalie Shenker; Marta Staff; Amy Vickers (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Maternal & Child Nutrition

If maternal milk is unavailable, the World Health Organization recommends that the first alternative should be pasteurised donor human milk (DHM). Human milk banks (HMBs) screen and recruit milk donors, and DHM principally feeds very low birth weight babies, reducing the risk of complications and supporting maternal breastfeeding where used alongside optimal lactation support. The COVID‐19 pandemic has presented a range of challenges to HMBs worldwide. This study aimed to understand the impacts of the pandemic on HMB services and develop initial guidance regarding risk limitation.


Finding our power together: working with indigenous youth and children during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole Ineese-Nash

Published: December 2020   Journal: Child & Youth Services
Indigenous communities continue to be under-resourced, under-funded, and overly managed and policed (Greenwood et al., 2012), which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. Our ability to choose our own path has been gated, leaving only a singular paved road toward the center; toward assimilation. For many, this is not a choice at all.
Feeding students during COVID-19—related school closures: a nationwide assessment of initial responses

AUTHOR(S)
Gabriella M. McLoughlin; Sheila Fleischhacker; Amelie A. Hecht (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

This study aims to conduct a nationwide assessment of child nutrition administrative agencies’ responses to meal service provision during coronavirus disease 2019–related school closures. Systematic coding of government websites (February–May 2020) regarding school meal provision in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, 5 US territories, and the US Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 52 | Issue: 12 | No. of pages: 1120-1130 | Language: English | Topics: Nutrition | Tags: child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, food policies, lockdown, nutrition policy, school attendance | Countries: United States
Tackling childhood stunting in the Eastern Mediterranean region in the context of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Ayoub Al Jawaldeh; Radhouene Doggui; Elaine Borghi (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: Children
Over 20 million children under 5 years old in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region have stunted growth, as a result of chronic malnutrition, with damaging long-term consequences for individuals and societies. This review extracted and analyzed data from the UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank malnutrition estimates to present an overall picture of childhood stunting in the region. The number of children under 5 in the region who are affected by stunting has dropped from 24.5 million (40%) in 1990 to 20.6 million (24.2%) in 2019. The reduction rate since the 2012 baseline is only about two fifths of that required and much more rapid progress will be needed to reach the internationally agreed targets by 2025 and 2030. Prevalence is highest in low-income countries and those with a lower Human Development Index. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undermine efforts to reduce stunting, through its impact on access and affordability of safe and nutritious foods and access to important health services.
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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.