We aimed to investigate school-aged students' physical activity behaviors and overweight status during the COVID-19 quarantine.
In this cross-sectional study, an online questionnaire was utilized to measure participants' physical activity behavior and overweight status during the COVID-19 quarantine in Iran (May of 2021). Participants self-reported their physical activity levels, types, amounts and locations, as well as whether or not they became overweight. The chi-square test was used to determine the differences in the distribution of the participant responses. The statistical significance level was set at P<0.05.
The questionnaire was completed by 43,660 school-aged students (15,532 boys and 28,128 girls). The age, weight, and height ranges were 8–17 yr, 18–144 kg, and 75–198 cm respectively. Half of the students reported changes in their body weight and became overweight during the COVID-19 pandemic (χ2=25514.4; P=0.001). Forty-one percent reported doing very little or no physical activity, 32% of students reported doing less than one hour of exercise per day (χ2=8547.7; P=0.001). The majority of students (72%) reported participating in physical activity at home (χ2=78851.2; P=0.001). Flexibility was the main kind of exercise performed, followed by walking or running, during the COVID-19 pandemic (χ2=24328.9; P=0.001).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, half of the students became overweight, and the majority did not engage in regular physical activity. These findings can help guide efforts to protect and promote children's health during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as influence policies to reduce the risk of future pandemics.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Home-based exercise
- Physical activity
- School closer