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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Eating disorders: the role of the family in development and maintenance of children's problems in the pandemic period

Maria Rosaria Juli; Rebecca Juli; Giada Juli (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Psychiatria Danubina

According to data released by the Ministry of Health in 2021 in Italy about three million young people suffer from eating disorders with onset before the age of 13 and the number tends to be increasing. This work aims to understand if and to what extent the areas of family functioning are related to the way of eating of adolescents in the period of restriction due to COVID-19. In particular, which dimensions of family functioning can be correlated with dysfunctional eating habits. The group that took part in the study was composed of 154 non clinical subjects, of which 124 females, 27 males and 3 non-binary gender subjects. The tests used were the McMaster Family Assessment Device and the Binge Eating Scale, in addition a personal data sheet was used containing the details of the subjects who participated anonymously, recruited at the university of Italy. The data have some limitations, first of all the low number of the sample and the online modality in compiling the tests.

Lessons from the health policies for children during the pandemic in Japan

Naohisa Shobako

Published: October 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
It is everyone's desire to seek the sound growth of children through food education and there is a critical need for fostering an environment for this purpose. Health policies are important for this support. To the present, the Japanese society has been greatly disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic. “Stay at home”, “mokusyoku (silent eating)”, and mask wearing were encouraged in nationwide campaigns as public health measures to combat COVID-19. There are some papers reporting negative effects of “stay at home” and lockdowns such as weight gain, decrease in physical activities and change in eating habits. In Japan, while benefits and advantages of food education during mealtime were previously well studied, the “mokusyoku” rule may directly run counter to this food education. Moreover, there are several reports showing that nutrients might contribute to prevention of infectious diseases. Japanese children were also encouraged to wear masks all day long. The results of the clinical research, especially randomized control trials, show limited protective effect of masks. On the other hand, negative outcomes of the masks were reported in various scenes. This review focuses on these topics and arousing reconsideration for a better environment for children.
Is online self‐regulatory training effective in weight control? A pilot experiment on adolescence obesity during coronavirus‐19 lockdown

Asiyeh Rezaei Niyasar; Alireza Moradi; Narges Radman (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Brain and Behavior

Studies have shown that obesity is associated with decreased executive function. Impaired executive functions lead to poor self-regulation, which in turn may result in persistence of unhealthy behaviors, including eating behaviors, throughout life. Increasing self-regulation in childhood and adolescence has positive effects on creating healthy behaviors such as reducing unnecessary eating and changing unhealthy eating habits. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate an intervention package based on cognitive self-regulation training in changing eating behaviors and reducing obesity in children and adolescents. Fifty-six students with obesity aged 12–16 years participated in the study in three groups (cognitive self-regulation training [CSRT], diet, and control). The CSRT group received twenty 30-min online training sessions with a diet over 10 weeks. The diet group received only a diet with no other intervention, and the control group did not receive any intervention.

Body mass index increased at a large Midwestern children's hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Robert Siegel; Philip Khoury; S. Andrew Spooner (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Childhood Obesity

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a great challenge to children and their families with stay-at-home orders, school closures, decreased exercise opportunities, stress, and potential overeating with home confinement. This study describes the body mass index (BMI) changes over an entire decade, including a year of the COVID-19 pandemic at a large children's hospital. With this retrospective observational study, data were extracted from Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Epic electronic medical record, a free-standing children's hospital with 670 inpatient beds and >1.2 million patient encounters per year. Children aged 19 years and under with at least one height and weight were included in the analysis.

Increased Incidence of obesity in children and adolescents post-COVID-19 pandemic: a review article

Sushmita Jha; Ashok M. Mehendale

Published: September 2022   Journal: Cureus

The recent coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has immensely impacted all classes of society, but the effects on children and adolescents are much more pronounced than on others. While obesity and its comorbidities in children and adolescents have always been a concern, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be one of the leading causes of health problems in children and adolescents worldwide, leading to various complications. Hence, understanding its long-term sequelae is of utmost importance. The role of physicians in family counseling, nutrition counseling, and diet education is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The BMI (body mass index) measurements and retrospective cohort studies of various individuals are useful for the pertinent research. During the pandemic, social isolation, staying at home, increased screen time due to online classes, reduced outdoor activities, and more snacking are some of the contributing factors that have increased the prevalence of obesity and further morbidities associated with it. Multiple studies and guidelines are available for combating these issues; still, an increasing number of such cases have been encountered in routine outpatient department (OPD) practice. As opposed to specific infectious illnesses, obesity and its comorbidities are non-infectious, and a slow-growing silent risk; hence parents approach the pediatrician quite late in the disease process. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, every aspect of our life has entered a more virtual domain and is no longer confined to a mere physical sphere. This sudden shift to virtual online classes has significantly impacted children and adolescents by decreasing their physical activities and social interactions in schools. This has even led to increased use of social media and mobile phone games by children and adolescents, a grave concern for parents, pediatricians, and epidemiologists. A more detailed assessment and multidisciplinary approach might benefit in dealing with the management of this emerging issue. Gaining enhanced clarity by establishing more guidelines can help physicians as well as parents in the management of this critical issue.

Predicting South Korean adolescents vulnerable to obesity after the COVID-19 pandemic using categorical boosting and shapley additive explanation values: a population-based cross-sectional survey

Haewon Byeon

Published: September 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Pediatrics

This study identified factors related to adolescent obesity during the COVID-19 pandemic by using machine learning techniques and developed a model for predicting high-risk obesity groups among South Korean adolescents based on the result. This study analyzed 50,858 subjects (male: 26,535 subjects, and female: 24,323 subjects) between 12 and 18 years old. Outcome variables were classified into two classes (normal or obesity) based on body mass index (BMI). The explanatory variables included demographic factors, mental health factors, life habit factors, exercise factors, and academic factors. This study developed a model for predicting adolescent obesity by using multiple logistic regressions that corrected all confounding factors to understand the relationship between predictors for South Korean adolescent obesity by inputting the seven variables with the highest Shapley values found in categorical boosting (CatBoost).

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood obesity and lifestyle: a report from Italy

Stefano Palermi; Marco Vecchiato; Sonia Pennella (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Pediatric Reports
During the COVID-19 lockdown, especially in the first wave of pandemic (March 2020), sedentary lifestyle and calorie intake increase in children became considerably more prevalent. The aim of the present paper was to evaluate changes in children’s weights and nutritional habits during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. In this cross-sectional observational study, for 3 years, as part of the corporate wellness program (2019–2021) in Emilia Romagna region of Italy, anthropometric data of Ferrari car company employers’ children were collected, analyzed, and compared. Moreover, at the visit of November 2020, performed after the first wave of the pandemic with the most rigorous lockdown rules in Italy, a questionnaire on nutritional and lifestyle habits was administered
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 14 | Issue: 4 | No. of pages: 9 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, lockdown, obesity, physical activity, social distance | Countries: Italy
Change of obesity prevalence and lifestyle patterns before and during COVID-19 among Korean adolescents

Hong Kyu Park; Jung Sub Lim

Published: September 2022   Journal: Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism
Lockdown measure for limiting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread cause an aggravation of the childhood obesity epidemic through lifestyle changes. The aim is to investigate how social restriction might have changed obesity prevalence and lifestyle patterns in Korean adolescents. We also evaluate the most fragile group and most influencing lifestyle parameters on obesity prevalence. To assess the change in weight status and lifestyle, we compared the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey data 2019 (pre-COVID-19, n=57,303) and 2020 (post-COVID-19, n=54,948). Participants from middle schools and high schools, aged 12 to 18 years, voluntarily reported their weight status and lifestyles.
Evaluation of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on BMI in children and adolescents with or without obesity

Albane B. R. Maggio; Claudine Gal-Dudding; Xavier Martin (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: BMC Pediatrics volume

In Switzerland, from March 15th to May 11th 2020, schools and most shops were closed nationwide due to the COVID-19-related lockdown. This cessation of activities may have impacted weight gain in children and adolescents. The aims of our study were to evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on the BMI of children and adolescents in treatment for obesity, and to compare its evolution to that of the previous year at the same time, as well as to that of normal-weight children. This retrospective study gathered demographic and anthropometric data from subjects aged 6–18 years both with normal weight and with obesity, who attended our hospital clinics at four time points: before and after the lockdown period in 2020, and at the same times of the year in 2019. We used paired t-tests to assess weight, BMI and BMI z-score changes, linear and standard multiple regressions, independent Student’s t-tests or Chi-square tests to compare groups, and Pearson correlation coefficient when appropriate.

Changes in obesity and BMI among children and adolescents with selected chronic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman; Izzuddin M. Aris; Charles Bailey (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Obesity

The aim of this study was to examine COVID-19 pandemic-related changes in obesity and BMI among patients aged 5 to <20 years with selected chronic conditions. A longitudinal study in 293,341 patients aged 5 to <20 years who were prescribed one of five medication classes (for depression, psychosis, hypertension, diabetes, or epilepsy) and who had BMI measures from January 2019 to March 2021 was conducted. Generalized estimating equations and linear mixed-effects models were used, accounting for within-child repeated measures and stratified by age, race, ethnicity, gender, and class of medication prescribed, to compare obesity and BMI z score during the pandemic (June through December 2020) versus pre-pandemic (June through December 2019).

Addressing child obesity via social networks: experience report of actions of the health lifestyle project at school in the COVID-19 pandemic

Sarah Cavalcante Brandão; Ingra Bezerra de Melo Gonçalves; Ítalo Emanoel de Sousa Chaves (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: International Journal of Health Science

Childhood obesity is a nutritional disorder considered a serious public health problem worldwide because it is responsible for a large part of the emergence of chronic degenerative diseases and, consequently, raises the levels of morbidity and mortality. The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the increase in the rates of this comorbidity, as the established transmission containment measures led to a reduction in physical activity, an increase in screen time and anxiety-related disorders. Thus, the Healthy Lifestyle at School extension project, developed at the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Cariri (UFCA), whose objective is to act in the identification, prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, recognized the need adapting face-to-face activities to the remote context. An account was created on the social network Instagram in order to alert about the problem and with the objective of reaching the target audience through educational, preventive and control measures against childhood obesity. The study is a qualitative analysis, of the experience report type, based on data obtained between April and September of the year 2020 on the Project’s social media page. It can be seen from this study that the challenge for extension projects to remain as guides for good health practices and remote knowledge production showed satisfactory results with the use of the social network as a tool for health promotion and education.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 43 | Issue: 2 | No. of pages: 4 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, lockdown, obesity, physical activity, social distance, social media | Countries: Brazil
Physical activity knowledge, attitude, and behaviours among adolescents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prior to and during COVID-19 restrictions

Naif Almutairi; Sharyn Burns; Linda Portsmouth

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Obesity
The prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity has increased dramatically and poses a major public health threat globally. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the main cause of adolescent obesity is an increase in physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits due to lifestyle changes. This study reports on factors associated with physical activity (PA) prior to and during the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) among middle school students in Jeddah, KSA.
Multilevel factors associated with obesity among South Korean adolescents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sou Hyun Jang; Hyesun Hwang

Published: August 2022   Journal: Childhood Obesity

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-necessitated lockdowns and school closures have limited social interactions among adolescents, which result in unhealthy behaviors. This study compared the multilevel factors associated with obesity among adolescents in South Korea before and during the pandemic. It applied the social-ecological model and analyzed the 2019 and 2020 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBS), including middle and high school students. It considered factors at the individual, family, and community levels in the logistic regression. Age and gender-adjusted obesity (body mass index ≥ the 95th percentile) was the dependent variable.

Effect of COVID-19 lockdown on children's eating behaviours: a longitudinal study

Giuseppina Rosaria Umano; Giulia Rondinelli; Giulio Rivetti (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Children
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on children’s lifestyle and eating behaviour, resulting in an increase of obesity prevalence. The CEBQ (Children’s Eating Behaviour Questionnaire) is a validate questionnaire that investigates children’s eating behaviour. Knowing the psychological consequences of daily routine disruption during lockdown, we evaluated the changes in eating behaviours in a paediatric cohort before and during the lockdown period through the evaluation of the Italian version of the CEBQ. Children attending the pediatric clinic of the University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’ were prospectively enrolled.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 9 | Issue: 7 | No. of pages: 7 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: behavioural change, child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, lockdown, obesity, social distance | Countries: Italy
The impact of COVID-19 on adolescents with eating disorders: increased need for medical stabilization and decreased access to care

Marissa A. Feldman; Callie K. King; Sarah Vitale (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: International Journal of Eating Disorders

This study aimed to identify trends of patients with eating disorders (EDs) requiring hospitalization before and during the pandemic at a children's hospital in the southeastern United States. A retrospective chart review was completed for 71 adolescents and young adults (ages 10–21 years; M = 14.61, SD = 2.121).

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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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