Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 82-90

Psychological impact of overweight/obesity among pediatric age group before and during COVID-19 lockdown in Saudi Arabia

1 Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Endocrine and Diabetes, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdulmoein Eid AlAgha
Department of Pediatrics, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aam.aam_108_20

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Objectives: Obesity is a primary public health concern in Saudi Arabia. The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected people's lives, putting considerable pressure on children and adolescents, leading to psychological problems. Therefore, we aimed to assess obesity's psychological and behavioral impact among children and adolescents before and during the COVID-19 lockdown in Jeddah. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the pediatric endocrine outpatient clinic at King Abdulaziz University Hospital(KAUH). The sample included 360 participants. Data were collected through clinical interviews by telecommunication from April to June 2020. Demographic factors and answers to questions about behavior, feelings, and daily life (pre and during home quarantine) were assessed against the participants' body mass index (BMI) and reported daily life difficulties. The BMI standard deviation was calculated based on the Center of Disease Control and Prevention standards. Results: Compared to other groups, a significantly higher percentage of overweight/obese participants reported low self-confidence (22.1%), 61.7% reported that their friends or family rarely bullied or picked on them and 66.4% reported that the people who they lived with rarely made fun of or bullied them due to their weight before home quarantine. Conclusion: Children with a higher BMI reported lower self-confidence than their average weight peers before home quarantine. However, a higher BMI did not increase the risk of being bullied by family members and friends. The majority of the participants changed for the worse in every research aspect during quarantine.

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