Home News Changes in Children’s Physical Fitness during Corona-Related Restrictions in Spring/Summer 2020

Changes in Children’s Physical Fitness during Corona-Related Restrictions in Spring/Summer 2020

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Gesundheitswesen. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1055/a-1657-9863. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

AIM OF THE STUDY: Due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the accompanying containment measures, physical activity opportunities for children in the context of school and sport clubs were severely restricted in the spring/summer of 2020. The present study focuses on changes in children’s physical fitness during this period.

METHODS: We conducted an almost full census of 131 primary school children in the 2nd grade in Bad Dürkheim, assessing their physical fitness immediately before the school closures on 16 March 2020 and after the end of the summer holidays (end of August) in Rhine-land-Palatinate, Germany. The standardised German motor skills test with nationally representative, gender- and age-specific reference values was used. For evaluation, we used repeated measures analysis of variance to detect significant changes in physical fitness within the observation period.

RESULTS: We took into account changes to be expected due to pandemics containment measures, and found a significant increase in physical fitness and BMI for the total sample during the observation period. Only in the dimensions of speed and endurance did the children show less development than would have been expected for their age. The proportion of overweight children increased from 17.7 to 23.8%.

CONCLUSION: The results show that the frequently formulated fear that the Corona-related restrictions in spring/summer 2020 could have negative effects on children’s physical development is not completely justified. However, in the view of the authors, the developments in BMI and endurance diagnosed in the short observation period should definitely be understood as a warning signal in the case of further restricted physical activity offers due to school closures, suspended sport clubs and especially wintry weather conditions.

PMID:34781384 | DOI:10.1055/a-1657-9863





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