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BMJ Open ; 11(10): e051497, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476604


OBJECTIVES: In spring 2020, the first COVID-19 national lockdown placed unprecedented restrictions on the behaviour and movements of the UK population. Citizens were ordered to 'stay at home', only allowed to leave their houses to buy essential supplies, attend medical appointments or exercise once a day. We explored how lockdown and its subsequent easing changed young children's everyday activities, eating and sleep habits to gain insight into the impact for health and well-being. DESIGN: In-depth qualitative interviews; data analysed using thematic analysis. SETTING: South West and West Midlands of England. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty parents (16 mothers; 4 fathers) of preschool-age children (3-5 years) due to start school in September 2020. Forty per cent of the sample were from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and half lived in the most deprived areas. RESULTS: Children's activity, screen time, eating and sleep routines had been disrupted. Parents reported children ate more snacks, but families also spent more time preparing meals and eating together. Most parents reported a reduction in their children's physical activity and an increase in screen time, which some linked to difficulties in getting their child to sleep. Parents sometimes expressed guilt about changes in activity, screen time and snacking over lockdown. Most felt these changes would be temporary, though others worried about re-establishing healthy routines. CONCLUSIONS: Parents reported that lockdown negatively impacted on preschool children's eating, activity and sleep routines. While some positive changes were identified, many participants described lack of routines, habits and boundaries which may have been detrimental for child health and development. Guidance and support for families during COVID-19 restrictions could be valuable to help maintain healthy activity, eating, screen time and sleeping routines to protect child health and ensure unhealthy habits are not adopted.

COVID-19 , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Sleep
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(14)2021 07 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323244


Strategies to address declining physical activity levels among children and adolescents have focused on 'individual-level' approaches which often fail to demonstrate impact. Recent attention has been on an alternative 'whole-school' approach to increasing physical activity that involves promoting physical activity throughout all aspects of the school environment. There is, however, a lack of evidence on how whole-school physical activity approaches could be implemented in the UK. This qualitative study explored perspectives of key stakeholders on potential reasons for the lack of impact of individual-level school-based interventions on children's physical activity, and key considerations for adopting a whole-school approach. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders involved in the implementation of physical activity programmes in UK schools. Data were analysed using an inductive approach. Respondents suggested that individual-level school-based interventions to increase physical activity often failed to consult end users in the design and were typically implemented in environments unsupportive of long-term change. They subsequently outlined specific barriers and key facilitators for the adoption and implementation of whole-school approaches in UK settings and recommended a shift in research foci towards building an evidence base around educational outcomes and whole-school implementation insights.

School Health Services , Schools , Adolescent , Child , Exercise , Humans , Qualitative Research
Arch Dis Child ; 106(6): 533-538, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967036


Child health is at risk from the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 response and will suffer further unless it is given proper consideration. The pandemic can be conceived as a systemic shock to the wider determinants of child health, with impacts on family functioning and income, access to healthcare and education. This article outlines COVID-19 impacts on children in England. Key priorities relate to the diversion of healthcare during lockdown; interruption and return to schooling; increased health risks and long-term impacts on child poverty and social inequalities. We provide an overview of mitigation strategies and policy recommendations aimed to assist both national and local professionals across child health, education, social care and related fields to inform the policy response.

COVID-19/therapy , Child Health Services/organization & administration , Health Priorities/organization & administration , Public Health Practice , Recovery of Function , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome/therapy , Child , England , Humans