The indirect health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents: A review

Publication Name

Journal of Child Health Care


It is pertinent to examine potentially detrimental impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on young people. We conducted a review to assess the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents. Databases of MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library were searched in June 2020, using keywords for ‘children’, ‘adolescents’ and ‘COVID-19’. English papers discussing young people in context to the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Quality of selected studies was evaluated and scored. Of the 2013 identified articles, 22 met the inclusion criteria, including 11 cohort studies, ten cross-sectional studies and one report. Five main issues emerged: Increased mental health conditions, declines in presentations to paediatric emergency departments, declines in vaccination rates, changes in lifestyle behaviour (mainly decreased physical activity for specific groups of children), and changes in paediatric domestic violence and online child sexual abuse. There are early indications that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the health of young people, and this is amplified for those with existing health conditions and vulnerabilities. Despite this, there is limited insight into the protective factors for young people’s health and wellbeing, as well as how the impacts of the pandemic can be mitigated in both the short and long term.

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