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Physical activity in children dropped during the pandemic

Children and adolescents globally experienced substantial reductions in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a review published online July 11 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Ross D. Neville, Ph.D., from University College Dublin, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies that used validated measures to document changes in child and adolescent physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data were analyzed via a random-effects meta-analysis in January 2022.

Based on 22 studies (14,216 participants), the researchers found that the percentage change in the duration of engagement in total daily physical activity from before to during COVID-19 was −20 percent. Changes were larger for higher-intensity activities (−32 percent), which translates to a 17-minute reduction in children’s daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Samples located at higher latitudes (37 percent) and studies with a longer duration between physical activity assessments (25 percent) showed larger reductions in physical activity.

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