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COVID-19 home confinement has led to a stressful situation for children around the world and affected their lifestyle. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of these restrictions on sleep quality, screen time (ST) and physical activity (PA) in Tunisian children with a special focus on gender differences. An online survey was launched in April 2020. Questions were presented in a differential format, with expected responses related to "before" and "during" confinement. Participants (52 boys and 48 girls, age: 8.66 ± 3.3 years) responded to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the digital media use, and the Ricci and Gagnon sedentary behavior questionnaires. Findings revealed that COVID19 home confinement had a negative effect on all the considered parameters (p < 0.05). Significant effects of gender were found on sleep disturbances (p = 0.016, np2 = 0.05), subjective sleep quality (p < 0.01, np2 = 0.07), global score of PSQI (p = 0.01, np2 = 0.01) and nocturnal and global screen time (p < 0.001, np2 = 0.09) with poorer sleep and higher screen time in girls compared to boys during home confinement. A significant correlation was shown between Global ST and PSQI score (r = 0.39, p < 0.001). Programs of PA for children and sensitization campaigns against the use of screens have been deemed urgent with special focus oriented to girls.

Citation

Rihab Abid, Achraf Ammar, Rami Maaloul, Nizar Souissi, Omar Hammouda. Effect of COVID-19-Related Home Confinement on Sleep Quality, Screen Time and Physical Activity in Tunisian Boys and Girls: A Survey. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021 Mar 16;18(6)

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PMID: 33809697

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