During the two years of COVID-19 lockdown and its related restrictions, the level of physical activity has decreased among children. Considering the adverse effects of insufficient physical activity (PA) on the health of children and adolescents, this study was conducted with the aim of investigating the level of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic among children and adolescents aged 8-19 years in Iran.
The study was a cross-sectional study among 16,500 students 8 to 19 years old urban and rural from 31 provinces across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran. Multistage sampling was used to select the participants. Data was gathered in January 2022 using the Persian version of the PA Questionnaire for older children and adolescents, based on the WHO- Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) questionnaire.
14893 cases were included in the study. The result of this study showed that more than half of the participants had a medium level of PA, and 32.5 had a low level of PA and only 12.6% of participants had a high level of PA. Males and those in the age group of 14 to 19 years has significantly, higher level of PA (P<0.05). The regression analysis showed that for one-year increase in age, the PA score would decrease by 0.256 times (p=0.000). The mean PAQ score was significantly higher among children whose parents did not have a health-related occupation or were unemployed.
Although the finding of this study showed a controversy results considering decrease of children’s PA scores during the COVID-19 pandemic, it demonstrated a low PA level among Iranian children in general.