CONTAINMENT – “Children, already very out of breath, could not reach the first block before the first beep”, worries Professor Martine Duclos, head of the sports medicine service at the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, with the World which relayed this Monday, June 28, the results of a French study on the impact of confinements on the physical and intellectual capacities of children.

Conducted in Allier and Puy-de-Dôme, this study conducted between September 2019 and September 2020 reports “catastrophic” figures, in the words of Martine Duclos, who coordinated this work and heads the National Observatory of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle (Onaps).

Regarding the physical impact, the body mass index (BMI) increased by 2 to 3 points on average. The physical condition of these 90 children in CE1 and CE2 deteriorated, in particular their respiratory capacities, children showing themselves very short of breath during simple sports exercises.

Decreased cognitive abilities

Onaps also shows that only 0.6% of 11 to 17 year olds have reached the threshold of the daily hour of physical activity recommended by the WHO. The world also reports from this study a decrease in cognitive abilities of about 40%.

It is by making them pass a test that the CHU arrived at this observation. Test having been carried out within the allotted time in September 2019, while in 2020 many of them did not complete it. “One year of confinement was catastrophic, at an essential time of neuronal plasticity”, laments the specialist.

A study by Public Health France, published last May, also looked at the impact of the first confinement on the mental health of children and adolescents. This showed that they had been strongly affected, especially girls compared to boys.

Mental Health

Nearly a third of children and adolescents had more difficulty falling asleep after the first confinement. 30% of 13-18 year olds and 27.2% of 9-12 year olds questioned evoked an increase in these difficulties in the survey published by Public Health France, which focuses on the mental health of children and adolescents during the first related confinement to Covid-19 in France.

The 13-18 year olds “seemed to have a more impacted mental health compared to the youngest”: in addition to difficulty falling asleep, 12.5% ​​of teenagers had more nightmares, 18.3% had more nocturnal awakenings and 27 % said they were more tired in the morning, while 25.1% said they overeat more often.

The survey also highlighted more severe psychological symptoms, even if they remain rarer: increased sadness (7% of teenagers and 2.2% of children), nervousness (13.1% and 5.2% ) or significant fear (5.2% and 4.6%).

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