Welsh study shows impact of Covid on 10- and 11-year-olds

According to research, children in the UK experienced more emotional distress, ate less vegetables and exercised less after the Covid epidemic.
Cardiff University investigators found that primary school-age children experienced a sharp rise in emotional problems in the early 2021s, as compared to the same survey in 2019.

Between April and June, 27% of year 6 children had significant emotional difficulties. This was compared to just 17% in 2019. However, the survey found little change in their behavioural difficulties. Children from poor backgrounds were twice as likely to experience emotional and behavioral difficulties than children from wealthy families.

Kelly Morgan, a Cardiff social science researcher, stated that the effects of the pandemic were likely to have a lasting impact on the mental health and well-being of children as they age, based upon evidence from international studies.

Morgan stated that children and their families were greatly affected by the pandemic. Morgan said that while it was illegal for children and their families to meet with others for play at certain points, we also know that the children were very concerned about the health of others.

This survey revealed the importance of schools' role in the aftermath and during the pandemic. 92% of children surveyed said that they felt cared about by their teachers, and 80% stated that they had at least one adult they could talk with in school.

Professor Graham Moore, who was the leader of the study that examined data from 1,863 pupils in 76 schools and found good relationships between teachers and students, was paid for by the Welsh government. These relationships remained strong among the children we surveyed, which shows the importance of education professionals in supporting young people during the pandemic.

Moore stated that it is possible that teachers and support staff wouldn't have done such a great job connecting with pupils in this manner, which would lead to a greater mental health crisis for our children.

According to the study, children aged 10 and 11 years old were less healthy than they were in previous years due to poor diets and lack of exercise. Children ate fewer vegetables per day than 52% in 2019, and 41% in 2021. The number of children who ate fruit every day fell from 59% to 47%.

Consuming vegetables is still more popular in middle- and upper-income families. The survey revealed that 52% of children living in upper-income households ate vegetables every day, while only 35% of low-income families did.

Morgan suggested that parents may have struggled to purchase and maintain fresh vegetables after the disruptions to their family's routines over 18 months. Morgan said that many children rely on schools for their breakfast and lunch which may explain the decline in vegetable and fruit consumption.