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1.
Sustainability ; 13(24):13808, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1594564

ABSTRACT

There is a growing body of literature reporting the health benefits of active commuting to school. This study investigated barriers and determinants of active commuting in children in Slovenia living within walking or cycling distance to school, i.e., 3 km. The sample consisted of 339 children (163 girls) aged 11–14 years who reported their mode of commuting, as well as their parents who described the socioeconomic environment of the family. Every third child in this study traveled to school exclusively by car/public transport, while every fifth participant used a passive means of transport when returning home from school. Potential household poverty, education of the mother and parental encouragement for physical activity were not associated with the commuting mode. In addition, conformist family barriers dominated among reasons for not choosing active commuting. A distance to school that was perceived to be too long was the most frequently cited barrier (72% of participants who passively commuted in both directions), followed by concern about being late for school (38% of participants who passively commute in one direction). Parents from all social strata who drive their children to school in either one or both directions while living in a walking or cycling range are a promising target population for active commuting interventions.

2.
Front Public Health ; 9: 785679, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581104

ABSTRACT

Background: The negative impact of isolation, confinement, and physical (in)activity due to pandemic movement restriction has been well-documented over the past year, but less is known on the impact of these policies on children's physical fitness. This study was designed to determine the effects of pandemic movement restriction policies on the 24-hour movement behavior (24-HMB) of children, and whether any alterations are reflected in worsening physical fitness outcomes determined via direct testing. Methods: A two-phase, repeated-measures study with matched controls was conducted. Phase One: N = 62 schoolchildren (N = 31 female) completed self-assessment questionnaires on 24-HMB in October 2018 (pre-pandemic) and again in April 2020, at the height of movement restrictions enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic first wave. Phase Two: physical fitness of the original N = 62 children were determined directly pre- and post-isolation using an eight-component standardized fitness test battery and compared to N = 62 control children who were matched for age, sex, school region, and fitness centile scores. Results: During lockdown (total duration: 63 days), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) decreased by ~46 min per day, screen time demonstrated a significant interaction effect, such that kids reported spending less recreational screen time on weekends during lockdown compared to no restriction, and sleep duration was consistently lower (95% CI: -104.1 to -45.5 min, p < 0.001). No interaction effect was present for direct fitness indicators, including: hand tapping (reaction time), standing broad jump, polygon backward obstacle course (coordination), sit-ups, stand-and-reach, bent-arm hang, 60-m, and 600-m run (p ≥ 0.05) although significant main effects are noted for both sexes. Conclusion: Initial changes in 24-HMB did not translate to reductions in physical fitness per se, likely due to the high initial fitness levels of the children. Further work is needed to confirm whether longer or repeated movement restrictions exacerbate initial negative 24-HMB trends, especially for children who are less fit when restrictions are initiated, prolonged, or repeated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Humans , Male , Physical Fitness , Policy , SARS-CoV-2 , Screen Time , Sleep
3.
Frontiers in public health ; 9, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1563355
4.
Obes Rev ; 22 Suppl 6: e13215, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1553950

ABSTRACT

Establishment of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) has resulted in a surveillance system which provides regular, reliable, timely, and accurate data on children's weight status-through standardized measurement of bodyweight and height-in the WHO European Region. Additional data on dietary intake, physical activity, sedentary behavior, family background, and school environments are collected in several countries. In total, 45 countries in the European Region have participated in COSI. The first five data collection rounds, between 2007 and 2021, yielded measured anthropometric data on over 1.3 million children. In COSI, data are collected according to a common protocol, using standardized instruments and procedures. The systematic collection and analysis of these data enables intercountry comparisons and reveals differences in the prevalence of childhood thinness, overweight, normal weight, and obesity between and within populations. Furthermore, it facilitates investigation of the relationship between overweight, obesity, and potential risk or protective factors and improves the understanding of the development of overweight and obesity in European primary-school children in order to support appropriate and effective policy responses.


Subject(s)
Pediatric Obesity , Child , Exercise , Humans , Overweight , Pediatric Obesity/epidemiology , Prevalence , Schools , World Health Organization
5.
Front Public Health ; 9: 644235, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145599

ABSTRACT

The Republic of Slovenia implements the largest longitudinal database of child physical fitness in the world-SLOfit. Slovenia has some of the most physically active children globally, and it has responded rapidly to incorporate national physical activity (PA) interventions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite aggressive campaigns to maintain PA at home, the country has seen a tremendous decrease in child physical fitness over the past several months as self-isolation measures have been mandated by national authorities. These trends prompted researchers to create a method of tracking and communicating government decisions which have a direct impact on child physical activity, fitness and overall health (i.e., the SLOfit Barometer). The research team assembled experts for consultation on creation of the SLOfit Barometer after processing preliminary data on 20,000 schoolchildren which found the greatest decline in child physical fitness since systematic testing began more than 30 years ago. Only 2 months of self-isolation erased over 10 years of hard-fought health gains acquired from national public health policies and PA interventions. This crisis in child fitness requires integrated community participation and a robust public health policy response, and with the SLOfit Barometer acting as a national bellwether system, it is envisioned that policy makers and the public will advocate for bold, progressive actions to combat this national health emergency. This surveillance tool tracks government action to combat the increasing child physical inactivity and obesity trends brought on as a direct result of COVID-19 isolation regulations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Health Promotion , Physical Fitness/physiology , Public Health , Quarantine , Surveys and Questionnaires/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Slovenia
6.
Eur J Sport Sci ; : 1-10, 2021 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1109100

ABSTRACT

To date, few data on how the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions affected children's physical activity in Europe have been published. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of physical activity and screen time from a large sample of European children during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform strategies and provide adequate mitigation measures. An online survey was conducted using convenience sampling from 15 May to 22 June, 2020. Parents were eligible if they resided in one of the survey countries and their children aged 6-18 years. 8395 children were included (median age [IQR], 13 [10-15] years; 47% boys; 57.6% urban residents; 15.5% in self-isolation). Approximately two-thirds followed structured routines (66.4% [95%CI, 65.4-67.4]), and more than half were active during online P.E. (56.6% [95%CI, 55.5-57.6]). 19.0% (95%CI, 18.2-19.9) met the WHO Global physical activity recommendation. Total screen time in excess of 2 h/day was highly prevalent (weekdays: 69.5% [95%CI, 68.5-70.5]; weekend: 63.8% [95%CI, 62.7-64.8]). Playing outdoors more than 2 h/day, following a daily routine and being active in online P.E. increased the odds of healthy levels of physical activity and screen time, particularly in mildly affected countries. In severely affected countries, online P.E. contributed most to meet screen time recommendation, whereas outdoor play was most important for adequate physical activity. Promoting safe and responsible outdoor activities, safeguarding P.E. lessons during distance learning and setting pre-planned, consistent daily routines are important in helping children maintain healthy active lifestyle in pandemic situation. These factors should be prioritised by policymakers, schools and parents.Highlights To our knowledge, our data provide the first multi-national estimates on physical activity and total screen time in European children roughly two months after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.Only 1 in 5 children met the WHO Global physical activity recommendations.Under pandemic conditions, parents should set pre-planned, consistent daily routines and integrate at least 2-hours outdoor activities into the daily schedule, preferable on each day. Schools should make P.E. lessons a priority. Decision makers should mandate online P.E. be delivered by schools during distance learning. Closing outdoor facilities for PA should be considered only as the last resort during lockdowns.

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