Changes in Lifestyle Behaviors and Mental Health Among Children During Covid-19

A new study published in Public Health (2022) assessed changes in lifestyle behaviors (physical activity, screen time, eating habits and bed/wake-up times), mental health and wellbeing during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 as perceived by school children from disadvantaged settings.

1095 grade 4 to 6 students (age 9–12 years) from 20 schools in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in northern Canada were surveyed.

Results showed positive attitudes toward being active, eating healthy, going to sleep on time and being healthy were strongly associated with maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors during the lockdown.

Positive attitudes toward active and healthy living and healthy lifestyle behaviors were associated with maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown.

The researchers concluded that the study findings call for effective health promotion of active and healthy lifestyles to benefit both physical and mental health.

While this study did not assess substance use as lifestyle behaviors, alcohol and drug use is associated with poorer mental health outcomes among youth.

Programs that integrate healthy lifestyle behavior promotion with preventing substance use could therefore offer an even broader and more cost-effective strategy for improving youth mental health.

Programs like the single-session SPORT (Alcohol/Drug), Marijuana and Vaping Prevention Plus Wellness programs with versions for elementary school-aged children offer a practical approach for promoting healthy physical activity, eating and sleep habits while preventing alcohol and drug use for improving the mental and physical health of youth people across the US.

Read the entire study publication: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033350621004133

Learn more about Prevention Plus Wellness: https://preventionpluswellness.com

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