Studies using questionnaires report that COVID-19 restrictions resulted in children spending significantly less time outdoors. This study used objective measures to assess the impact of pandemic-related restrictions on children’s behavior. A total of 19 healthy 8-12-year-old boys were observed before and during social restriction periods. Of these, 11 boys were reassessed after restrictions were lifted. For each session, Actiwatches were dispensed for measures of time outdoors, activity, and sleep. Changes overall and by school status were assessed using signed-rank test and Wilcoxon rank sum tests. During restrictions, children spent significantly less time outdoors ( = 0.001), were less active ( = 0.001), and spent less time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity ( = 0.004). Sleep duration was not significantly different between sessions ( > 0.99), but bedtime and wake time shifted to a later time during restrictions ( 0.05 for both). Children’s behaviors significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction in outdoor light exposure is of importance due to the role of light in the etiology of myopia and vitamin D production. The reduction in physical activity may have negative health effects in terms of obesity and depression, although further research is required to ascertain the long-term effects.
About The Author
Einat Shneor,Ravid Doron,Jonathan Levine,Deena Rachel Zimmerman,Julia S Benoit,Lisa A Ostrin,Ariela Gordon-Shaag
Deena Rachel Zimmerman
Julia S Benoit
Lisa A Ostrin