The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Movement Behaviors of Children Under the Age of Five, A Narrative Review


  • Mashael A. Alrubaishi College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Toddlers/Preschoolers, COVID-19, Movement Behaviors, Screen-Time, Physical Activity, Sleep


Background: In March 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since then, our lives have changed significantly, particularly vulnerable groups, such as young children. A young child's movements throughout a typical day include sleeping, sitting, and physical activity (PA) of different intensities. In 2019 the WHO released the first global guideline for movement behavior of children under the age of five. Due to the distinct movement behavior recommendations for this age group and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these behaviors, the present review aims to appraise the literature from across the globe on the effect of COVID-19 on movement behaviors, including screen-time, PA, and sleep in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Methods: PubMed and Google scholar electronic database were searched, the titles and abstracts of all articles retrieved from the search were screened and duplicates were removed. The full texts of potential articles to be included in the study were then reviewed based on the inclusion criteria, and data were extracted from the selected studies using a Microsoft Excel sheet.

Results: This review included 11 studies. Four studies cross-sectional, six longitudinal, and one cohort study. The sample size ranged from 25 to 4,136 children. In all of the studies, the sedentary screen-time increased significantly. Sleep, on the other hand, did not change significantly in the majority of the studies, although sleep duration increased in some studies. There were large discrepancies between the device-measured and parent-reported outcomes regarding physical activity that decreased in all studies, except for the Hong Kong and Sweden studies it increased.

Conclusion: As the world is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and managing the uncertainty of other pandemics that may occur, our review can help to promote a healthy balanced pattern of movement behaviors by providing information to support parents of young children.



How to Cite

Alrubaishi , M. . (2022). The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Movement Behaviors of Children Under the Age of Five, A Narrative Review. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries, 16(2). Retrieved from



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