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Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 17881

Special Issue Editors

Department of Humanities, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: gender nonconforming children; digital play; effects of digital playground on child development
Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy, and Applied Psychology, University of Padua, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: childhood trauma; early attachment patterns; mother-child dyad; psychological well-being in children and adolescents

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the main goals of health services in our society is to promote the health and well-being of all individuals, and especially those who are more vulnerable than others, such as children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [1]. 

We are particularly interested in understanding how to promote children’s health and well-being by utilizing inclusive approaches, giving space to new trends in this field, in particular regarding the following topics:

  1. Development of gender identity in children, with emphasis on children’s gender nonconformity;
  2. Development of children language skills and abilities;
  3. Support to children with special educational needs;
  4. Interspecific interaction between children and pets/other animals;
  5. Children, digital technologies, and social media;
  6. Support to ethnic, religious, and social minorities, including children at risk of discrimination.

We accept empirical and theoretical (conceptual) studies to enhance the health services’ efforts to promote children’s health and well-being from inclusive and health-enhancing perspectives.

Reference

[1] Preamble to the Constitution of WHO as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19 June - 22 July 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of WHO, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. The definition has not been amended since 1948.

Dr. Vincenzo Bochicchio
Dr. Selene Mezzalira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • children
  • children’s health
  • children’s well-being
  • children’s gender nonconformity
  • children’s language skills/abilities
  • children with special educational needs
  • animal-assisted interventions for children
  • children at risk
  • digital play in childhood
  • digital media and children’s health

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 1826 KiB  
Article
Associations of Broader Parental Factors with Children’s Happiness and Weight Status through Child Food Intake, Physical Activity, and Screen Time: A Longitudinal Modeling Analysis of South Korean Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(2), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020176 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1312
Abstract
This study investigated how broader parental factors including parental happiness, parental play engagement, and parenting stress are related to Korean children’s happiness and weight status across three years via indirect pathways through the children’s energy-related behaviors of healthy and unhealthy food intake, physical [...] Read more.
This study investigated how broader parental factors including parental happiness, parental play engagement, and parenting stress are related to Korean children’s happiness and weight status across three years via indirect pathways through the children’s energy-related behaviors of healthy and unhealthy food intake, physical activity, and screen time. Data from 1551 Korean parent pairs and 7-year-old children in the Panel Study on Korean Children were analyzed. A path analysis and gender-based multi-group analysis were conducted. Maternal happiness was negatively related to child screen time. Maternal play engagement showed positive concurrent associations with child healthy food intake and physical activity and negative associations with screen time. Maternal parenting stress was negatively related to child healthy eating. There was one significant finding related to fathers’ role on children’s energy-related behaviors, happiness, and weight status: the positive association between parental happiness and boys’ unhealthy food intake. Child screen time was positively related to child weight status and negatively to child happiness at each age. Broader maternal parenting factors can serve as a protective factor for childhood happiness and weight status in 7-to-9-year-olds through being associated with a reduction in child screen time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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17 pages, 2957 KiB  
Article
Examining Coping Strategies and Their Relation with Anxiety: Implications for Children Diagnosed with Cancer or Type 1 Diabetes and Their Caregivers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21010077 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1206
Abstract
The onset of chronic diseases in childhood represents a stressful event for both young patients and their caregivers. In this context, coping strategies play a fundamental role in dealing with illness-related challenges. Although numerous studies have explored coping strategies employed by parents of [...] Read more.
The onset of chronic diseases in childhood represents a stressful event for both young patients and their caregivers. In this context, coping strategies play a fundamental role in dealing with illness-related challenges. Although numerous studies have explored coping strategies employed by parents of children with chronic diseases, there remains a gap in the understanding of children’s coping strategies and their correlation with their and their parents’ anxiety. This study aims to investigate coping strategies and their interaction with anxiety in groups of young patients with cancer, type 1 diabetes (T1D), and their respective caregivers, in comparison to healthy children and caregivers. We recruited a total of 61 control children, 33 with cancer, and 56 with T1D, 7 to 15 years old, along with their mothers. Each participant completed a customized survey and standardized questionnaires. No significant differences emerged in coping strategies used by children among the different groups. However, when examining the association between coping strategy and anxiety, we found specific patterns of interaction between children’s use of coping strategies and their and their mothers’ anxiety levels. This study underscores the importance of an illness-specific approach to gain deeper insights into this topic and develop targeted interventions aimed at enhancing the psychological well-being of these vulnerable populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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13 pages, 356 KiB  
Article
24 h Activity Guidelines in Children and Adolescents: A Prevalence Survey in Asia-Pacific Cities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(14), 6403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20146403 - 19 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1111
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the prevalence of adherence to 24 h activity guidelines in children and adolescents from Asia-Pacific cities. In 1139 children aged 5–18 years, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), screen viewing time (SVT), sleep duration, child weight, height, sex, and age [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the prevalence of adherence to 24 h activity guidelines in children and adolescents from Asia-Pacific cities. In 1139 children aged 5–18 years, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), screen viewing time (SVT), sleep duration, child weight, height, sex, and age were parent-reported. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the number of guidelines met, and prevalence of adherence to activity guidelines by city and child sex. Prevalence of meeting all three 24 h activity guidelines was low across all countries (1.8–10.3%) (p < 0.05). Children from Thiruvananthapuram, India had the highest [10.3% (95% CI: 6.0–17.0)], while those from Tokyo, Japan had the lowest prevalence [1.8% (95% CI: 0.5–7.0)] of meeting all three guidelines. The highest prevalence of meeting individual MVPA, SVT and sleep guidelines was found in India [67.5% (95% CI: 58.8–75.1)], Kelaniya, Sri Lanka [63.2% (95% CI: 58.7–67.4)] and Kowloon, Hong Kong [59.4% (95% CI: 51.1–65.3)], respectively. Overall, a higher prevalence of boys met all three guidelines, compared to girls [5.9% (95% CI: 4.1–8.1) vs. 4.7% (3.1–6.6), p = 0.32]. The prevalence of adhering to all three activity guidelines was low in all five participating cities, with a higher proportion of boys meeting all guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
14 pages, 732 KiB  
Article
Perceived Social Support and Quality of Life of Children with and without Developmental Disabilities and Their Caregivers during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 4449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054449 - 02 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1263
Abstract
Background: Social support and Quality of life (QoL) are important aspects of life and should be explored during the specific scenario of the pandemic. Aims: (i) to compare the perceived social support (PSS) in caregivers and the domains of QoL of the caregiver [...] Read more.
Background: Social support and Quality of life (QoL) are important aspects of life and should be explored during the specific scenario of the pandemic. Aims: (i) to compare the perceived social support (PSS) in caregivers and the domains of QoL of the caregiver and the child with developmental disabilities (DD) and typical development (TD); (ii) to verify the existence of the association, in each group, between the PSS, and the domain of QoL of the caregiver and the child. Methods and Procedures: 52 caregivers of children with DD and 34 with TD participated remotely. We assessed PSS (Social Support Scale), children’s QoL (PedsQL-4.0-parent proxy) and caregivers’ QoL (PedsQL-Family Impact Module). The groups were compared for the outcomes using the Mann–Whitney test, and Spearman’s test evaluated the correlation between the PSS and the QoL (child and caregiver) in each of the groups. Outcomes and Results: There was no difference between groups for PSS. Children with DD presented lower values in PedsQL total, psychosocial health, physical health, social activities, and school activity. Caregivers of children with TD presented lower values in PedsQL family total, physical capacity, emotional aspect, social aspect, daily activities, and higher value in communication. In the DD group, we found a positive relationship between PSS with child: Psychosocial Health (r = 0.350) and Emotional Aspect (r = 0.380), and with family: Total (r = 0.562), Physical Capacity (r = 0.402), Emotional Aspect (r = 0.492), Social Aspect (r = 0.606), Communication (r = 0.535), Concern (r = 0.303), Daily Activities (r = 0.394) and Family Relationships (r = 0.369). In the TD group, we found that PSS was positively associated with Family: Social Aspect (r = 0.472) and Communication (r = 0.431). Conclusions and Implications: During the COVID-19 pandemic, despite both groups presenting similar PSS, there are important differences in QoL between them. For both groups, greater levels of perceived social support are associated with greater caregiver-reported in some domains of the child’s and caregiver’s QoL. These associations are more numerous, especially for the families of children with DD. This study provides a unique view into the relationships between perceived social support and QoL during the “natural experiment” of living through a pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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11 pages, 658 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Morphological Parameters and Body Composition in Adolescents with and without Intellectual Disability
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043019 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Compared to the tremendous volume of studies focusing on children and teenagers without disabilities, research regarding weight and body composition among young populations with an intellectual disability is relatively rare. Their number further decreases when we refer to specific age groups with intellectual [...] Read more.
Compared to the tremendous volume of studies focusing on children and teenagers without disabilities, research regarding weight and body composition among young populations with an intellectual disability is relatively rare. Their number further decreases when we refer to specific age groups with intellectual deficits, such as children and adolescents younger than 18. In addition, studies are even scarcer when we wish to compare groups of subjects with different degrees of intellectual disability by gender. This study has a constative nature. The research sample comprises 212 subjects—girls and boys with an average age of 17.7 ± 0.2, divided into six groups by gender and type of intellectual disability. The parameters considered within the study include anthropometrical data and body composition determined using a professional device (Tanita MC 580 S). The findings of this study highlight the impact of intellectual disability on body composition in this age category. We hope it will help develop efficient strategies, recommendations, and intervention plans to ensure active participation in physical activities and categorisation within the optimal parameters of body composition indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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14 pages, 1154 KiB  
Article
Usability and Effects of a Combined Physical and Cognitive Intervention Based on Active Video Games for Preschool Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7420; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127420 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2999
Abstract
Executive functions (EFs) are essential for early childhood development, and effective programs to improve EFs in preschool education are becoming increasingly crucial. There is rising evidence that combined physical–cognitive intervention training utilizing active video games (exergames) could be a viable strategy to improve [...] Read more.
Executive functions (EFs) are essential for early childhood development, and effective programs to improve EFs in preschool education are becoming increasingly crucial. There is rising evidence that combined physical–cognitive intervention training utilizing active video games (exergames) could be a viable strategy to improve EFs. However, there is a shortage of empirical evidence on the application of this approach in preschool education. The effectiveness of exergame intervention training in preschools must be evaluated. This study conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of exergames intervention training on preschool children’s EFs. A total of 48 participants aged 4–5 years were enrolled; 24 were randomly allocated to receive exergames physical activity training, and the remaining 24 received conventional physical activity training. After a four-week intervention, the children who received the exergames intervention training exhibited considerably greater gains in all three EFs tasks than children who received the conventional physical activity program. Follow-up interviews revealed that the children accepted the exergames well. The results demonstrate the viability of incorporating exergames into preschool education to improve children’s EFs, supporting prior findings and offering more empirical evidence from early childhood research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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Review

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12 pages, 782 KiB  
Review
Hot Executive Function Assessment Instruments in Preschool Children: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010095 - 23 Dec 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4642
Abstract
The study aimed to systematically analyze the empirical evidence that is available concerning batteries, tests or instruments that assess hot executive functions (EFs) in preschoolers, identifying which are the most used instruments, as well as the most evaluated hot EFs. For the review [...] Read more.
The study aimed to systematically analyze the empirical evidence that is available concerning batteries, tests or instruments that assess hot executive functions (EFs) in preschoolers, identifying which are the most used instruments, as well as the most evaluated hot EFs. For the review and selection of articles, the systematic review methodology PRISMA was used. The article search considered the EBSCO, Web of Science (WoS), SciELO and PubMed databases, with the keywords “Hot executive function”, “Assessment”, “test”, “evaluation”, using the Boolean operators AND and OR indistinctly, between 2000 and April 2021. Twenty-four articles were selected and analyzed. The most commonly used instruments to assess hot EFs in preschool children were the Delayed Gratification Task, the Child’s Play Task, and the Delayed Reward Task. Amongst those analyzed, 17 instruments were found to assess hot EFs in preschoolers. The accuracy and conceptual clarity between the assessment of cognitive and emotional components in EFs is still debatable. Nevertheless, the consideration of affective temperature and reward stimulus type, could be an important influence when assessing EFs in this age range. Evidence of the possible involvement of cortical and subcortical structures, as well as the limbic system, in preschool executive functioning assessment has also been incorporated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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Other

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25 pages, 720 KiB  
Systematic Review
Gender Felt Pressure, Affective Domains, and Mental Health Outcomes among Transgender and Gender Diverse (TGD) Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review with Developmental and Clinical Implications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010785 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3032
Abstract
Although capable of mobilizing significant resilience factors to face stigma and discrimination, transgender and gender diverse (TGD) children and adolescents tend to suffer from more adverse mental health outcomes compared to their cisgender counterparts. The minority stressors that this population faces are mainly [...] Read more.
Although capable of mobilizing significant resilience factors to face stigma and discrimination, transgender and gender diverse (TGD) children and adolescents tend to suffer from more adverse mental health outcomes compared to their cisgender counterparts. The minority stressors that this population faces are mainly due to the gender-based pressure to conform to their assigned gender. This systematic review was aimed at assessing the potential mental health issues that affect the TGD population. The literature search was conducted in three databases; namely, Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science, based on the PRISMA guidelines. The 33 articles included in the systematic review pointed out how TGD children and adolescents experience high levels of anxiety and depression, as well as other emotional and behavioral problems, such as eating disorders and substance use. Resilience factors have been also pointed out, which aid this population in facing these negative mental health outcomes. The literature review highlighted that, on the one hand, TGD individuals appear to exhibit high levels of resilience; nonetheless, health disparities exist for TGD individuals compared with the general population, which are mainly attributable to the societal gender pressure to conform to their assigned gender. Considerations for research and clinical practice are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Children’s Health and Well-Being)
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