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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 101
Successful delivery of nutrition programs and the sustainable development goals

Daniel Lopez de Romaña; Alison Greig; Andrew Thompson (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnolog
Malnutrition affects millions of people globally, especially women, children, and other vulnerable populations. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone by 2030. To achieve the SDG goals effective nutrition interventions and programs need to be efficiently delivered to those most in need. Nutrition directly affects 2 SDGs (2 and 3) and indirectly influences five others. In addition, almost all SDGs influence nutrition and thus attaining the SDG goals is also a pre-requisite to achieving the Global Nutrition targets set in 2012.
Socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in low-income countries

Anna Josephson; Talip Kilic; Jeffrey D. Michler

Published: March 2021   Journal: Nature Human Behaviour
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and attempts to limit its spread have resulted in a contraction of the global economy. This study documents the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic among households, adults and children in low-income countries. To do so, it relies on longitudinal household survey data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, originating from pre-COVID-19 face-to-face household surveys plus phone surveys implemented during the pandemic. 256 million individuals—77% of the population—are estimated to live in households that have lost income during the pandemic. Attempts to cope with this loss are exacerbated by food insecurity and an inability to access medicine and staple foods. Finally, this study finds that student– teacher contact has dropped from a pre-COVID-19 rate of 96% to just 17% among households with school-aged children. These findings can inform decisions by governments and international organizations on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GN briefing on COVID-19 and malnutrition
Institution: General Nutrition
Published: March 2021

The increase in malnutrition arising due to the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause nearly 170,000 additional child deaths in the next two years. Please, read that again, and understand that we are in the middle of a crisis within a crisis. This pandemic has created a fatal cycle: malnourished people are at a higher risk of death or hospitalisation from COVID-19, and the lockdown measures necessary to tackle the virus make it more difficult for people to access healthcare facilities and proper food, thus pushing them closer to malnutrition. Since nutrition underpins all of human flourishing, people in these regions are also under great economic, social, environmental and health strains, and may sink deeper into poverty as a result . Both COVID-19 and malnutrition have intense, long-term impacts, and challenge our ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are emergencies in the short and long term. To avoid this food crisis spiralling out of control, actions to prevent malnutrition must be adopted as an essential part of any COVID-19 response.

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.

Old tricks, new opportunities: how companies violate the International code of marketing of breast-milk substitutes and undermine maternal and child health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Constance Ching; Paul Zambrano; Tuan T. Nguyen (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Breastfeeding is critical to maternal and child health and survival, and the benefits persist until later in life. Inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS), feeding bottles, and teats threatens the enabling environment of breastfeeding, and exacerbates child mortality, morbidity, and malnutrition, especially in the context of COVID-19. These tactics also violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. This study identified marketing tactics of BMS companies since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by reviewing promotional materials and activities from 9 companies in 14 countries, and the official Code reporting data from the Philippines.
Changes in diet, activity, weight, and wellbeing of parents during COVID-19 lockdown

Rachel G. Curtis; Timothy Olds; Ty Ferguson (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Plos One
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted lifestyle behaviour as public health initiatives aim to “flatten the curve”. This study examined changes in activity patterns (physical activity, sedentary time, sleep), recreational physical activities, diet, weight and wellbeing from before to during COVID-19 restrictions in Adelaide, Australia. This study used data from a prospective cohort of Australian adults (parents of primary school-aged children; n = 61, 66% female, aged 41±6 years).
Revisiting maternal and child undernutrition in low-income and middle-income countries: variable progress towards an unfinished agenda

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.
A community perspective of COVID-19 and obesity in children: causes and consequences

Maido Tsenoli; Jane Elizabeth Moverley Smith; Moien AB Khan

Published: March 2021   Journal: Obesity Medicine
The pandemic of childhood obesity that has been increasing over the last decade has collided with the current pandemic of COVID-19. Enforced behavioural changes have resulted in a  myriad of problems for children particularly in weight management. Restricted activity is the most obvious but many other aspects of life have exacerbated biological, psychosocial, and behavioral factors identified as risks for childhood obesity. Significant effort is required to turn around the prevailing tide of weight gain necessitating changes in personal and family behavior and diet, as well as high-level governmental and educational policy.
Obesity in children and adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic

Androniki Stavridou; Evangelia Kapsali; Eleni Panagouli (et al.)

Published: February 2021   Journal: Children
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to special circumstances and changes to everyday life due to the worldwide measures that were imposed such as lockdowns. This review aims to evaluate obesity in children, adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A literature search was conducted to evaluate pertinent studies up to 10 November 2020. A total of 15 articles were eligible; 9 identified 17,028,111 children, adolescents and young adults from 5–25 years old, 5 pertained to studies with an age admixture (n = 20,521) and one study included parents with children 5–18 years old (n = 584). During the COVID-19 era, children, adolescents and young adults gained weight. Changes in dietary behaviors, increased food intake and unhealthy food choices including potatoes, meat and sugary drinks were noted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity associated with financial reasons represents another concern.
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.
Parental stress, food parenting practices and child snack intake during the COVID-19 pandemic

E. Jansen; G. Thapaliya; A. Aghababian (et al.)

Published: January 2021   Journal: Appetite
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to the lives of families. This study aimed to investigate the impact of pandemic-associated stress on food parenting practices including interactions surrounding snacks, and child diet.
Child eating behaviors, parental feeding practices and food shopping motivations during the COVID-19 lockdown in France: (how) did they change?

Kaat Philippe; Claire Chabanet; Sylvie Issanchou (et al.)

Published: January 2021   Journal: Appetite
The COVID-19 pandemic caused France to impose a strict lockdown, affecting families' habits in many domains. This study evaluated possible changes in child eating behaviors, parental feeding practices, and parental motivations when buying food during the lockdown, compared to the period before the lockdown.
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

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.
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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.