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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of COVID-19 on Health Behavior, Stress, Financial and Food Security among Middle to High Income Canadian Families with Young Children

1
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
2
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
3
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2352; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082352
Received: 10 July 2020 / Revised: 30 July 2020 / Accepted: 31 July 2020 / Published: 7 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition within and beyond Corona Virus)
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of daily life. The purpose of this study was to identify how health behaviors, level of stress, financial and food security have been impacted by the pandemic among Canadian families with young children. Parents (mothers, n = 235 and fathers, n = 126) from 254 families participating in an ongoing study completed an online survey that included close and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the quantitative data and qualitative responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. More than half of our sample reported that their eating and meal routines have changed since COVID-19; most commonly reported changes were eating more snack foods and spending more time cooking. Screen time increased among 74% of mothers, 61% of fathers, and 87% of children and physical activity decreased among 59% of mothers, 52% of fathers, and 52% of children. Key factors influencing family stress include balancing work with childcare/homeschooling and financial instability. While some unhealthful behaviors appeared to have been exacerbated, other more healthful behaviors also emerged since COVID-19. Research is needed to determine the longer-term impact of the pandemic on behaviors and to identify effective strategies to support families in the post-COVID-19 context. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; family; health behavior; stress; food insecurity COVID-19; family; health behavior; stress; food insecurity
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Carroll, N.; Sadowski, A.; Laila, A.; Hruska, V.; Nixon, M.; Ma, D.W.; Haines, J.; on behalf of the Guelph Family Health Study. The Impact of COVID-19 on Health Behavior, Stress, Financial and Food Security among Middle to High Income Canadian Families with Young Children. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2352.

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