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The Impact of COVID-19-Related Mitigation Measures on the Health and Fitness Status of Primary School Children in Austria: A Longitudinal Study with Data from 708 Children Measured before and during the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

1
Institute of Human Movement Science, Sport and Health, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
2
Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, LKH Hochsteiermark, 8700 Leoben, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jon Oliver
Sports 2022, 10(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10030043
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 1 March 2022 / Accepted: 7 March 2022 / Published: 11 March 2022
The COVID-19-related closing of schools and sport facilities resulted in major changes to daily routines worldwide. It was the aim of this study to investigate the impact of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria. Seven hundred and eight primary school children (7–10 years old) participated in the longitudinal study. Data on height, weight, waist circumference, and fitness were collected before (September 2019) and during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic (June 20, September 20, March 21, June 21). A significant increase in EQUI BMIAUTp2 = 0.087) and significant changes (ηp2 = 0.355) in waist circumference were found. Cardiorespiratory endurance (ηp2 = 0.440) and action speed (ηp2 = 0.221) decreased dramatically following lockdowns/school closures. In contrast, muscle strength showed no significant changes. The COVID-19-related mitigation measures intended to contain a communicable disease resulted in an acceleration of the pre-existing pandemic of overweight and obesity. The adverse combination of increasing BMI and the loss of physical fitness is likely to result in long-term negative effects on the health status of growing and developing individuals. Health professionals should therefore not only support further longitudinal observations of this “non-communicable disease” but also support intervention programs to reverse this worrying side-effect of COVID-19-associated containment policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; children; school; body mass index; waist-to-height ratio; weight classification; physical fitness; health-related fitness; cardiorespiratory endurance COVID-19; children; school; body mass index; waist-to-height ratio; weight classification; physical fitness; health-related fitness; cardiorespiratory endurance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jarnig, G.; Kerbl, R.; van Poppel, M.N.M. The Impact of COVID-19-Related Mitigation Measures on the Health and Fitness Status of Primary School Children in Austria: A Longitudinal Study with Data from 708 Children Measured before and during the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Sports 2022, 10, 43. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10030043

AMA Style

Jarnig G, Kerbl R, van Poppel MNM. The Impact of COVID-19-Related Mitigation Measures on the Health and Fitness Status of Primary School Children in Austria: A Longitudinal Study with Data from 708 Children Measured before and during the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Sports. 2022; 10(3):43. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10030043

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jarnig, Gerald, Reinhold Kerbl, and Mireille N.M. van Poppel. 2022. "The Impact of COVID-19-Related Mitigation Measures on the Health and Fitness Status of Primary School Children in Austria: A Longitudinal Study with Data from 708 Children Measured before and during the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic" Sports 10, no. 3: 43. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10030043

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