Assessing health-related behaviors among Jordanian children during COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study

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Keywords

COVID-19, Quarantine, Pharmacists’ role, Children, Health-related behavior

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease identified in 2019 (COVID-19) led to extreme actions being taken by the governments to restrict the spread of this virus. Closure of schools, sport clubs and playgrounds were among these actions; children had to stay indoors and were not allowed to pursue their normal lifestyle activities. Objectives: To assess the differences in health-related behaviors among Jordanian school-aged children (6-16 years) before and during COVID-19 quarantine and to evaluate public’s perception of the role of pharmacists regarding children’s health-related behaviors management. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from August 2020 to January 2021 using an anonymous web-based survey. The survey was developed based on previously published surveys. Evaluation of the validity and reliability of the survey were conducted by a professional committee of clinical pharmacists and a statistician. Results: A total of 230 children, aged 9.02± 2.977 participated in the study. Physical activity and healthy balanced meals decreased (less than 1 hr or 1-3 hrs/week vs 2 meals/day, p= <0.001), whereas daily screen time (1-3 hrs/week vs 4-6 hrs/week, p= <0.001), sleep hours (8-9 hrs/day vs 10-11 hrs/day, p= <0.001) and the ingestion of unhealthy snacks had increased (1-2 meals/day vs. 2-3 meals/day, p=<0.001). A positive perception of pharmacists’ role during the pandemic was revealed. Conclusion: The present study showed that a significant change in children’s healthrelated behavior happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such changes can lead to social, physical and mental health problems. The public perceived community pharmacists as trusted health care professionals during the pandemic.

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