Changes in nutritional status, physical activity habits, and diet of children in primary school during the COVID-19 epidemic

Aim: The COVID -19 pandemic has changed the way people live, and children are particularly at risk because of their vulnerable age. The aim of this work was to evaluate the changes in nutritional status, physical activity, and eating habits of elementary school- aged children during the Covid 19 pandemic. Methods: The study was conducted from February to April 2021 and included 197 primary school children, 100 boys, and 97 girls. A questionnaire was used to collect data on lifestyle, eating habits, and physical activity outside school. The Mediterranean Diet Qual- ity Index for children and adolescents was used to determine membership in the Mediterranean diet. The kinanthropological and anthropological data of the students were obtained from the diary of the physical education and health teacher. Results: The average rating of the quality of the children’s diet, as determined by the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for Children and Adolescents, showed a moderate affiliation with the Mediterranean diet. Before online instruction, 65.9% of students ate break- fast daily, whereas during online instruction, 75.7% ate breakfast (p< 0.001). Results showed that students exercised statistically sig- nificantly more before online instruction than during online instruction (p< 0.05). Students had weaker kinanthropological scores than before beginning online instruction. Conclusions: According to the results, students’ diet is of average quality, and some habits, such as breakfast, have improved, while physical activities have decreased significantly during the pandemic. Therefore, the promotion of proper nutrition and physical ac- tivity through public health programs should be emphasized to educate both children and parents about the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity, and responsible use of various media.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 67, No 1-2, january-june 2023
Authors: Sandra Pavičić Žeželj, Nataša Dragaš Zubalj, Dijana Tomić linšak, Gordana Kenđel Jovanović, Matea Posedel
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2023;67:12-19

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