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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 82
Measuring and mitigating child hunger in the UK

AUTHOR(S)
Aveek Bhattacharya; Jake Shepherd

Published: December 2020
Food insecurity, and particularly child hunger, has been a source of growing social and political concern for the best part of a decade. There are fears that COVID-19, and the economic shutdowns brought in its wake, will make it even worse. That has drawn substantial public attention to the issue – not least as a result of a high-profile campaign from Marcus Rashford and his Child Food Poverty Taskforce and subsequent changes in Government policy on support for children in England on free school meals through the school holidays. Campaigners have long argued that there is inadequate data on food insecurity and child hunger in the UK. In 2019, the Government incorporated a battery of questions on the topic into its Family Resources Survey. However, the 2019/20 results will not be published until March 2021, and it will be 2022 until we have data covering the period of the pandemic. In this report, we attempt to fill that breach, providing initial findings on the level of food insecurity in the UK, as well as the impact of the pandemic.
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, food policies, nutrition policy, school attendance, COVID-19 response, lockdown | Countries: United States
COVID-19: a one-way ticket to a global childhood obesity crisis?

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Cuschieri; Stephan Grech

Published: November 2020   Journal: Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders
Obesity is a global epidemic based on three major pillars of (i) genetic (ii) behavioural and (iii) environmental determinants. The latter two pillars have been challenged during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic across all population age groups including children. The closure of schools resulted in decreased organised physical activity, increase in sedentary lifestyle and screen time with the possibility of stress-induced indulgence in high calorie dense and sugary foods, resulting in higher susceptibility to weight gain. The uncertainty faced by many Northern Hemisphere governments as the new scholastic year looms closer whether to open schools again or not further enhances the stress on the children and their family.
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.
Breaking point: COVID-19 and the child protection crisis in Afghanistan
Institution: World Vision
Published: November 2020
The children of Afghanistan, especially those already suffering from poverty and inequity, are among the most vulnerable to the harsh socio-economic impact of COVID-19. Child mortality, malnutrition, forced marriages, sexual abuse, child labour and other forms of violence and exploitation and are all common challenges for the average child. With the addition of COVID-19 and its immediate and secondary impacts, children are now more anxious and worried than ever before and at greater risk of facing physical, sexual and emotional violence, especially as the economic impacts of the crisis set in with poverty rates and hunger in the country rising.
COVID-19 and food security in Ethiopia: do social protection programs protect?

AUTHOR(S)
Kibrom A. Abay; Guush Berhane; John Hoddinott (et al.)

Institution: The World Bank
Published: November 2020
This paper assesses the impact of Ethiopia's flagship social protection program, the Productive Safety Net Program on the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food and nutrition security of households, mothers, and children. The analysis uses pre-pandemic, in-person household survey data and a post-pandemic phone survey. Two-thirds of the respondents reported that their incomes had fallen after the pandemic began, and almost half reported that their ability to satisfy their food needs had worsened. Employing a household fixed effects difference-in-difference approach, the study finds that household food insecurity increased by 11.7 percentage points and the size of the food gap by 0.47 months in the aftermath of the onset of the pandemic.
Omics study reveals abnormal alterations of breastmilk proteins and metabolites in puerperant women with COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Yin Zhao; You Shang; Yujie Ren (et al.)

Published: November 2020   Journal: Pediatric Research
The nutrition contents of breastmilk directly participate in neonatal immune response. The alternations of the components of breastmilk under the context of viral infection not only reflect the physiological changes in mothers but also affect neonatal immunity and metabolism via breastfeeding. Herein, this paper attempts to answer the important questions whether breastmilk production is affected by COVID-19 and whether breastfeeding is still a safe or recommended operation for COVID-19 puerperant women.
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Averting a lost COVID generation: a six-point plan to respond, recover and reimagine a post-pandemic world for every child
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: November 2020 UNICEF Publication
After almost one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the impact of the virus on the world’s children and young people is becoming clearer – and increasingly alarming. Children face a trifecta of threats: direct consequences of the disease itself, interruption in essential services and increasing poverty and inequality.

Despite being less affected than any other age group, emerging data suggest that children and young people’s health may be more directly impacted by COVID-19 than originally anticipated when the crisis began in late 2019. Disruptions to essential services such as education, health care, nutrition and child protection interventions are harming children. A severe global economic recession is impoverishing children and compounding deep pre-existing inequalities and exclusion.

On World Children’s Day, UNICEF is taking stock of the global impact of COVID-19 on children and young people, laying out what we know from the latest available data and research, highlighting what is still unclear as well as the options for action, and urging the world to take bold and unprecedented steps to reimagine a better future for children.
Salud, aprendizaje, derechos y protección de los niños durante la pandemia del Covid-19: un estudio de investigación global
Institution: Save the Children
Published: November 2020
The study explores differences in the impact and needs of children by country/state/city, age, gender, disability, type of minority group, and poverty indicators. The research is exploratory in nature, using primary quantitative data collected through online surveys using snowball sampling methods and secondary data on government interventions and numbers of COVID-19 cases/deaths. This knowledge is invaluable to Save the Children, partners, stakeholders, and governments, in informing the development of information products, services, programs, and policies in the health and education sectors.
Populations at Risk: Implications of COVID-19 for Hunger, Migration and Displacement

The joint WFP-IOM report highlights the close interconnection between hunger, conflict, migration and displacement, which has been further aggravated by COVID-19. The study explores the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods, food security and protection of migrant workers households dependent on remittances and the forcibly displaced, including unaccompanied and separated children. Using the latest available data, the report highlights food security trends in some of the major migration and hunger hotspots across the world. The key findings have informed joint recommendations put forward by both agencies to mitigate the immediate negative effects on mobile and displaced populations, while preparing the pathway to recovery.

Socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in four African countries

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Josephson; Talip Kilic; Jeffrey D. Michler

Institution: The World Bank
Published: November 2020
This paper provides some of the first evidence on the socioeconomic impacts of and responses to the pandemic among households in Sub-Saharan Africa. Econometric methods are applied to longitudinal household survey data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda. Results show that 256 million individuals are estimated to live in households that have lost income due to the pandemic. Attempts to cope with this loss are exacerbated by the inability to access medicine and staple foods among 20 to 25 percent of the households in each country, and food insecurity is disproportionately borne by households that were already impoverished prior to the pandemic. Finally, student-teacher contact has dropped from a pre-COVID-19 rate of 96 percent to just 17 percent among households with school-age children. These findings can help inform decisions by governments and international organizations on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and reveal the need for continued monitoring.
Food insecurity measurement and prevalence estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic in a repeated cross-sectional survey in Mexico

AUTHOR(S)
Pablo Gaitán-Rossi; Mireya Vilar-Compte; Graciela Teruel (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: Public Health Nutrition

The aim of this study was validate the telephone modality of the Latin American and Caribbean Food Security Scale (ELCSA) included in three waves of a phone survey to estimate the monthly household food insecurity prevalence during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. The reliability and internal validity of the ELCSA scale has been examined in three repeated waves of cross-sectional surveys with Rasch models. The monthly prevalence of food insecurity in the general population and in households with and without children has been estimated and compared them with a national 2018 survey. Concurrent validity has also been tested by testing associations of food insecurity with socio-economic status and anxiety.

COVID-19 and children: UNICEF data hub
Institution: UNICEF Data & Analytics
Published: October 2020

Children are not the face of this pandemic. But they risk being among its biggest victims, as children’s lives are nonetheless being changed in profound ways. All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good. Moreover, the harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. The potential losses that may accrue in learning for today’s young generation, and for the development of their human capital, are hard to fathom. 188 countries imposed countrywide school closures during the pandemic, affecting more than 1.6 billion children and youth. Even prior to the pandemic, however, children’s learning was in crisis, and the pandemic has only sharpened these inequities, hitting schoolchildren in poorer countries particularly hard. Globally, many schools lack the resources to invest in digital learning, and many children from poorer households do not have internet access.

Reorienting nurturing care for early childhood development during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya: a review

AUTHOR(S)
Constance Shumba; Rose Maina; Gladys Mbuthia (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
In Kenya, millions of children have limited access to nurturing care. With the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is anticipated that vulnerable children will bear the biggest brunt of the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic. This review aimed to deepen understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on nurturing care from conception to four years of age, a period where the care of children is often delivered through caregivers or other informal platforms. The review has drawn upon the empirical evidence from previous pandemics and epidemics, and anecdotal and emerging evidence from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Multifactorial impacts fall into five key domains: direct health; health and nutrition systems; economic protection; social and child protection; and child development and early learning. The review proposes program and policy strategies to guide the reorientation of nurturing care, prevent the detrimental effects associated with deteriorating nurturing care environments, and support the optimal development of the youngest and most vulnerable children. These include the provision of cash transfers and essential supplies for vulnerable households and strengthening of community-based platforms for nurturing care.
Emergency food security monitoring system: measuring the impact of Covid-19 on food security and vulnerability in Sierra Leone
Institution: World Food Programme
Published: October 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak is posing an unprecedented context that has greatly tested the resolve and resilience of the global population. Whilst Sierra Leone may not have recorded a high COVID-19 caseload, the impact on economic and social activities has evidently been profound, triggering the not too distant memories of the 2014-15 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. The June 2020 Emergency Food Security Monitoring System again provides critical and timely data to enhance our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerability and food security. Concerningly, the E-FSMS again shows an increase in the proportion of food insecure Sierra Leoneans, from 47 percent in January 2020 to 63 percent in June 2020, demonstrating the considerable impact of COVID-19 on households that rely on fragile livelihoods.
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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.