Youth Movement Behaviors & Covid-19

Youth Movement Behaviors & Covid-19

A review of research published in Journal of Sport and Health Science (2021) summarized the available literature investigating the relationships between the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep) of school-aged children (aged 5−11 years) and youth (aged 12−17 years) in the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of 150 articles, 110 were empirical studies examining physical activity (n = 77), sedentary behavior/screen time (n = 58), and sleep (n = 55).

Results consistently reported declines in physical-activity time, increases in screen time and total sedentary behavior, shifts to later bed and wake times, and increases in sleep duration.

The reported impacts on movement behaviors were greater for youth than for children.

The authors concluded that there is an urgent need for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers to develop solutions for attenuating adverse changes in physical activity and screen time among children and youth.

We suggest the use of existing cost-effective evidence-based programs simultaneously targeting multiple movement and health behaviors affecting young people, such as the single-session SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) intervention, which targets not only physical activity and sleep, but also healthy eating, stress control and avoiding alcohol and drug use among children and adolescents.

Brief, multi-behavior interventions like SPORT PPW have the potential to reach large numbers of young people and impact a variety of lifestyle behaviors impacting both mental and physical health of youth and children.

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