OD6 Better sleep for better health of children during and following COVID-19 pandemic

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to daily routines. As of April 8, 2020, schools have been suspended nationwide in 188 countries, according to UNESCO, and 1.5 billion young people worldwide are out of education. China is the first to implement school closure, leading to180 million primary and secondary students and 47 million preschool children. Prolonged home confinement might have negative effects on children’s well-being caused by unhealthy lifestyles characterized by sleep disturbances, reduced outdoor activities, and increased screen exposure, especially in children from low socioeconomic families. Reviewing scientific evidence and theoretical base for, and conducting immediate and following-up investigations into the role of sleep and life style factors in child health is critical to mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the pandemic and protect the future of world’s children,

Dr. Fan Jiang, Professor from Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Pediatric Translational Medicine Institute, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine calls on that the government, nongovernmental organizations, community, school, and parents need to be aware of the downside of the situation and provide holistic strategies to mitigate the consequences of home confinement. She will further explain why we should focus on sleep and lifestyle factors and share our experience in implementing a sleep health project for home confined children during the outbreak. 

Dr. Patrick IP, Clinical Associate Professor from Department of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, will present population data of children during COVID-19 outbreak based on a large-scale study involving young children in different districts in Hong Kong. Distorted sleep pattern and sleep deprivation were associated with significant child health and behavioral problems. Potential long-term impact will also be discussed.

Dr. Gilbert Chua, Clinical Assistant Professor from Department of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, will present sleep and physical activity levels data of primary and secondary school children before and during COVID-19 outbreak using activity logs and actigraphy watches. Significant reduction in physical activity level and disturbances in sleep patterns were observed. Potential impact on children and family’s psychosocial wellbeing will be discussed.

 Dr.Guanghai Wang, Associated Professor from Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Pediatric Translational Medicine Institute, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine will present on socioeconomic inequality in child mental health during the pandemic and the influence of child sleep, other life style and family environment factors. This population-based study was conducted in 21,526 children (aged 3-12) confined at home for ~2 months in China during the pandemic. Results shows that socioeconomic inequalities affect the mental health of children from the poorest regions during the pandemic. As sleep problems, other unhealthy lifestyle and unfavorable family environment are contributory factors, immediate interventions and prioritized collective efforts can reduce and close these gaps.

Dr. Yuning Zhang, Associated Professor from  Child Health Advocacy Institute, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine will carry out a follow-up survey in a Shanghai representative sample of 20,000 preschool children to track early child development and its major risk factors including sleep characteristics after COVID-19 pandemic. With baseline data collected in Nov 2019 before the outbreak, this new cohort will provide valuable data of how the pandemic and home confinement affect lifestyle, health and development of young children.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:

  • Recognize scientific evidence and theoretical base for the effects of healthy sleep and lifestyle factors on physical and mental health in children during and following pandemic
  • Examine the role of sleep in the socioeconomic inequality in child mental health 
  • Develop evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to protect our children’s sleep, whole health, and world’s future
Chair

Fan Jiang (China)

Mitigating the effects of home confinement on child health during the pandemic: Why we should focus on sleep?

Fan Jiang (China)

Sleep, child health and development: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Patrick IP (China)

Impact of home confinement on sleep quality and physical activity levels in children during COVID-19 pandemic

Gilbert Chua (China)

Socioeconomic inequality in mental health in children during the pandemic: The role of sleep

Guanghai Wang (China)

Tracking long-term effect of sleep and lifestyle factors on child development

Yunting Zhang (China)


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