Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on 24-h movement behaviours among children in Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional survey

Publication Name

Child: Care, Health and Development


Background: In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. This led many governments to place restrictions on population movement to aid in pandemic control. These restrictions were expected to produce some type of impact on the daily lives of children and their families. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on 24-h movement behaviours among Saudi children aged 6–12 years, during the pandemic. Methods: An online survey of Saudi parents (n = 1021) was conducted between 1 October to 11 November 2020 to gather information about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children's 24-h movement behaviours, parent and child factors that may be associated with movement behaviours, and perceived changes in children's movement behaviours. Results: Only 3.4% of Saudi children met all components of 24-h movement guidelines. Compared with before COVID-19, children's PA levels declined, they slept more, and their use of electronic screen devices significantly increased. The perceived changes in PA and SB were more unfavourable among girls than boys. Children of older parents, mothers, and those with lower education levels and lower monthly incomes were more likely to meet 24-h movement guidelines. Conclusion: The COVID-19 virus outbreak unfavourably affected Saudi children's movement behaviours, more specifically, girls, which should be taken into account in future research. The results provide an insight into what has changed because of the COVID-19 restrictions and could be considered as part of the response strategies in Saudi Arabia.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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