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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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16 - 30 of 112
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.
A community perspective of COVID-19 and obesity in children: causes and consequences

AUTHOR(S)
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

AUTHOR(S)
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

AUTHOR(S)
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?

AUTHOR(S)
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

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.
Asia and the Pacific regional overview of food security and nutrition 2020: maternal and child diets at the heart of improving nutrition
This is the third annual report jointly written by United Nations agencies on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 2 – Zero Hunger) and the World Health Assembly 2030 targets for nutrition in the Asia and Pacific region. The first part of this report tracks progress on key SDG 2 indicators and World Health Assembly targets up to 2019. The second part of the report focuses on challenges and possible solutions to improve maternal and child diets in the Asia and Pacific region.
COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries.

The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries.

The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.

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.


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, COVID-19 response, food policies, lockdown, nutrition policy, school attendance | 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.
16 - 30 of 112

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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.