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A Sociodemographic Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19-Related Schools’ Closure on the Diet and Physical Activity of Children and Adolescents in Qatar

journal contribution
submitted on 2023-12-11, 06:25 and posted on 2023-12-13, 06:55 authored by Muna Abed Alah, Sami Abdeen, Nagah Selim, Elias Tayar, Ayman Al-Dahshan, Vahe Kehyayan, Layla AlDahnaim, Iheb Bougmiza

Objectives

To assess the impact of the COVID-19-related closure of government schools in Qatar on children and adolescents' dietary habits and physical activities and associated sociodemographic factors.

Methods

An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted between June and August 2022 utilizing the national electronic health records system in Qatar to extract a sampling frame of students enrolled in governmental schools, specifically targeting students in 3rd to 9th grades, stratified by sex and developmental stage. A stratified sampling technique was employed to randomly select a proportionate number of students from each stratum, and data were collected through telephone interviews with the parents of selected students.

Results

A total of 1546 interviews were completed by the end of the study. Of the included sample, 845 (54.7%) were between 8 and 11 years of age (middle childhood), while the rest were 12–15 years old (young teens and teenagers). Male to female ratio was almost 1:1. We found a significant decrease in the intake of vegetables, increases in the intake of soft drinks, fried food, fast food, and sweets, and a reduction in physical activity during schools’ closure compared to before. Higher parental educational levels, maternal employment, and having a positive family history of obesity and/or overweight in first-degree relatives were significantly associated with adverse lifestyle changes during schools’ closure.

Conclusion

The trends of lifestyle changes reported in this study during the periods of COVID-19-related schools’ closure were found to be going in a health-compromising direction. These results underscore the importance of implementing targeted interventions to promote healthy lifestyles during such disruptions and emphasize the need to address lifestyle changes beyond emergencies and outbreaks to mitigate potential long-term health consequences, including the increased risk of non-communicable diseases.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s44197-023-00101-8

Funding

Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • Primary Health Care Corporation
  • University of Doha for Science and Technology
  • College of Business - UDST

Methodology

An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted between June and August 2022 utilizing the national electronic health records system in Qatar to extract a sampling frame of students enrolled in governmental schools, specifically targeting students in 3rd to 9th grades, stratified by sex and developmental stage. A stratified sampling technique was employed to randomly select a proportionate number of students from each stratum, and data were collected through telephone interviews with the parents of selected students.

Geographic coverage

Qatar

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    Hamad Medical Corporation

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