Shifts in Self-Reported Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Play Among Lower-Socioeconomic Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study

Kylie Wilson, Annette Schmidt, Aaron Hess, Jennifer Vanos, Allison Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The lack of in-person schooling and participation in structured recreation activities during the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered children’s movement behaviors. This study assessed changes in children’s self-reported in school and out of school physical activity, sedentary behavior, and play before and during the pandemic. Design: A repeated cross-sectional online survey was administered in February 2020 (pre-pandemic, in-person) and 2021 (during pandemic, remote). Setting: Children attended an urban public school district in Phoenix (AZ) serving a low-income population. Subjects: Students in grades 4–8 completed the survey in 2020 (n = 253, 62% response rate) and 2021 (n = 261, 77% response rate). Measures: The survey included items from the Youth Activity Profile and three additional questions about play. Analysis: Differences in mean scores and mean scores by gender were analyzed using one-way and two-way ANOVAs. Results: Students reported less physical activity during remote recess in 2021 (M = 3.42, SD =.80 v. M = 2.99, SD =.86, p <.05). Physical activity outside of school decreased during the pandemic (M = 2.76, SD = 1.26 v. M = 2.53, SD = 1.18, p <.05). Most students (55%) reported playing less during the pandemic, but playing in new ways (67%). Conclusion: Children may benefit from interventions to counter reduced movement experienced during the pandemic, particularly in under-resourced areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • physical activity
  • play
  • school-aged youth
  • sedentary behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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