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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Change in prevalence of hypertension among Korean children and adolescents during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak: a population-based study

Kyungchul Song; Se Yong Jung; Juyeon Yang (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Children
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the prevalence of obesity increased globally; this may be associated with hypertension incidence. However, investigations on the changes in the prevalence of hypertension among children and adolescents are limited. This cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of hypertension among 1428 youths aged 10–18 years using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2018–2020. We assessed the prevalence of hypertension according to sex, age, body mass index (BMI), and residential district. The prevalence of hypertension increased from 7.1% to 12.5% in all participants. In the sex-specific analysis, the prevalence was found to be increased in boys. In the age-specific analysis, the prevalence was found to be increased in youths aged 13–15 years. In the BMI-specific analysis, an increase in the prevalence was prominent in the normal BMI group. In the residential district-specific analysis, the prevalence of hypertension among youth increased in urban areas. Our results show that the prevalence of hypertension increased among Korean children and adolescents during the COVID-19 outbreak. These findings suggest the importance of close monitoring of hypertension among youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prolonged body weight gain, lifestyle changes and health-related quality of life in children during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a follow-up study

María Ángeles Azrak; María Victoria Fasano; Ana Julia Avico (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Further investigation is needed to define the impact of long-term pandemic lockdown in children. This study aims to examine changes in body mass index z-score (zBMI), lifestyle, Health-Related Quality of Life and proportion of overweight or obesity (OW/OB) in 6- to 9-year-old children in Argentina. Observational study with baseline measurements prior to lockdown and follow-up after eight months of strict restrictive measures (November 2020, first visit, n = 144) and after ten months of partial reopening (September 2021, second visit, n = 108). Anthropometric changes from baseline to first visit in lockdown group (LG) were compared with a historical control group (HCG, n = 134). Follow-up visits included anthropometric measures, lifestyle questionnaire and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.

Impact of the COVID-19 kindergarten closure on overweight and obesity among 3- to 7-year-old children

Xiang Long; Xing‑Ying Li; Hong Jiang (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: World Journal of Pediatrics

Knowledge on the impact of the temporary kindergarten closure policy under COVID-19 in 2020 on childhood overweight and obesity is inadequate. We aimed to examine differences in rates of overweight and obesity from 2018 to 2021 among kindergarten children aged 3–7 years. Overweight was defined as body mass index (BMI) > 1 standard deviation (SD) for age and sex, and obesity was defined as BMI > 2 SD for age and sex. Generalized linear mixed modeling was used for analysis.

Access to healthcare for children and adolescents with a chronic health condition during the COVID-19 pandemic: first results from the KICK-COVID study in Germany

Julia M. Göldel; Clemens Kamrath; Kirsten Minden (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children
This study examines the access to healthcare for children and adolescents with three common chronic diseases (type-1 diabetes (T1D), obesity, or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)) within the 4th (Delta), 5th (Omicron), and beginning of the 6th (Omicron) wave (June 2021 until July 2022) of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany in a cross-sectional study using three national patient registries. A paper-and-pencil questionnaire was given to parents of pediatric patients (<21 years) during the routine check-ups. The questionnaire contains self-constructed items assessing the frequency of healthcare appointments and cancellations, remote healthcare, and satisfaction with healthcare. In total, 905 parents participated in the T1D-sample, 175 in the obesity-sample, and 786 in the JIA-sample. In general, satisfaction with healthcare (scale: 0–10; 10 reflecting the highest satisfaction) was quite high (median values: T1D 10, JIA 10, obesity 8.5). The proportion of children and adolescents with canceled appointments was relatively small (T1D 14.1%, JIA 11.1%, obesity 20%), with a median of 1 missed appointment, respectively. Only a few parents (T1D 8.6%; obesity 13.1%; JIA 5%) reported obstacles regarding health services during the pandemic. To conclude, it seems that access to healthcare was largely preserved for children and adolescents with chronic health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 10 | Issue: 1 | No. of pages: 11 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: care of disabled children, COVID-19 response, diabetes, disabled children, health care, lockdown, obesity, social distance | Countries: Germany
Changes in the body composition of boys aged 11-18 years due to COVID-19 measures in the Czech Republic

P. Kutac; V. Bunc; M. Sigmund (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

The lockdown measures related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID) impacted the health of adolescents by reducing physical activity (PA). The physical changes in response to decreases in PA can be measured with full body composition analysis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of long-term PA restrictions on body fat (BF), fat-free mass (FFM) and skeletal muscle mass (SMM) in adolescents. A total of 1669 boys (before PA restriction (G1): 998; after PA restrictions ended (G2): 671; between the ages of 11 and 18 were included. The measured parameters were body mass (BM), visceral fat area (VFA), BF, FFM and SMM. The whole-body composition was evaluated using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA).

Increased incidence of overweight and obesity among preschool Swedish children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anna Fäldt; Sahar Nejat; Sofia Edvinsson Sollander (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide effects on child health globally. Increased prevalence of childhood obesity has been observed by a number of countries during the pandemic. The absence of a formal societal lockdown during the pandemic, made Sweden stand out compared to other countries. This study aims to examine changes in BMI among preschool children in Sweden before and during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrospective population-based cross-sectional study, with longitudinal follow-up for a portion of the children. The study included 25 049 children from three Swedish regions, with growth measures at 3- (n = 16 237), 4- (n = 14 437) and 5-years of age (n = 11 711). Care Need Index was used as a socioeconomic parameter at health centre level.

Mindful feeding: associations with COVID-19 related parent stress and child eating behavior

Merina Varghese; Adelyn Sherrard; Michael Vang (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Appetite
Parent perceived stress has been associated with child obesogenic eating, as parents who are stressed may be less responsive to their children during mealtimes (Gemmill et al., 2013). More recently, mindfulness-based interventions have successfully reduced people's stress levels. However, less is known regarding the role of mindfulness in the child feeding context. In this study, 249 parents of children between the ages of 3 and 12 completed a 20-minute online study to examine the associations among COVID-19 related parent stress (hereby referred to as parent stress), mindful feeding, and child obesogenic eating (i.e., food responsiveness, enjoyment of food, emotional overeating, and desire to drink).
The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in children in Saudi Arabia: a mixed-methods study

Khlood Baghlaf; Dania Bormah; Anwar Hakami (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Nutrients
In 2020, there seems to have been a global shift in lifestyle and eating habits with the emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the ensuing lockdowns implemented by national governments. This study assessed the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on SSBs consumption among healthy 6–11 years old children in Saudi Arabia; This is a mixed-methods study, incorporating a quantitative component, which was a validated Arabic online questionnaire completed by parents, and a qualitative component, involving structured interviews with 10 selected parents using a criterion sampling method.
Children's rates of BMI change prepandemic and during two COVID‐19 pandemic periods, IQVIA AEMR, January 2018‐November 2021

Samantha Lange Pierce; Lyudmyla Kompaniyets; David S. Freedman (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Obesity

Many U.S. youth experienced accelerated weight gain during the early COVID-19 pandemic. Using an ambulatory electronic health record dataset, this study compared children's rates of BMI change in three periods: prepandemic (January 2018-February 2020), early pandemic (March-December 2020), and later pandemic (January-November 2021). It used mixed-effects models to examine differences in rates of change in BMI, weight, and obesity prevalence among the three periods. Covariates included time as a continuous variable; a variable indicating in which period each BMI was taken; sex; age; and initial BMI category.

Disparities in weight changes during the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown among youths

Corinna Koebnick; Margo A. Sidell; Xia Li (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Obesity

This study evaluates whether changes in weight among school-aged youth in California due to the COVID-19 lockdown vary by social constructs of race/ethnicity and associated social factors. Including 160,472 youth ages 5-17 years enrolled at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, mixed effects models stratified by age group were fitted to estimate changes in distance from the median body mass index (BMI)-for-age from 3/2020 to 1/2021 (lockdown) compared to the same period prepandemic.

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.

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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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