Publication: Czech adolescents’ remote school and health experiences during the spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown

Research Impact: The Czech Republic experienced some of the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Europe, yet very little is known about the impact and health behaviours of adolescents in Central Europe. This self-report study included 3440 students aged 11, 13, and 15y old from all regions of the Czech Republic. The adolescents were asked questions on the impact of the spring 2020 lockdown on the household, socialisation, health behaviours and changes in the health behaviours from items and study design of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. Results from a descriptive study were presented by differences in age, gender as well as perceived changes in health behaviour during lockdown from before lockdown. Girls and older adolescents reported the worst levels of well-being. Experiences in lockdown were also positive among 80% of adolescents as they had opportunities to learn new things or had family interactions. Perceived changes in physical activity and sleep were different depending on whether individuals did recommended amounts of the behaviour as well as gender. Eating, drinking and screen time were also different depending on whether the individual consumed the recommended levels. This type of study is important for future secular trends in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, addressing mental health during lockdown has been challenging due to a lack of remote services by professionals as well as the inclination to use remote services by adolescents for their mental health.

Ng 2020 IPARC-Presentation-IRECZ (002)In comparison to Irish data published in BMJ Open SEM, more Czech adolescents reported their PA increased during the spring 2020 lockdown than Irish adolescents at the same point in time. Similiarly, fewer adolescents in the Czech Republic reported their PA levels reduced than the Irish study.  Although there were similar restrictions during this time in both countries, the Czech sample were younger than the Irish sample, and this might explain the differences as physical activity levels tend to drop over time, and the associations for change and behaviour were prominent in both analyses. It is therefore important to encourage ways to sustain the new ways for physical activity during lockdown as well as methods to get adolescents back to sport and physical activity when finding an exit strategy from the pandemic. The evidence is emerging that this is common across different countries, suggesting underlying behaviour change theories would be beneficial in such interventions.

Ng, K., Cosma, A., Svacina, K., Boniel-Nissim, M. and Badura, P., 2021. Czech adolescents’ remote school and health experiences during the spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Preventive Medicine Reports22.  DOI: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101386

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