Impact of COVID-19 on School-Aged Male and Female Health-Related Fitness Markers

in Pediatric Exercise Science

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Zachary Wahl-AlexanderNorthern Illinois University

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Clayton L. CamicNorthern Illinois University

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Coronavirus disease 2019 on male and female anthropometric variables and physical performance. Methods: This study utilized a mixed (time [PRE vs POST], gender [male vs female]) methods design to examine changes in the body mass index and physical fitness performance measures prior to and following closures. Data were collected from 264 third through eighth graders. This sample consisted of 131 males and 133 females. The data was collected through anthropometric (body mass index) and physical performance measures and was analyzed with separate 2 × 2 mixed-factorial analyses of variance (time [PRE, POST] × gender [male, female]). Results: The findings indicated both males and females exhibited mean increases in the body mass index (+10.6%; 18.8–20.8 kg·m−2, P < .001, partial η2 = .627) and decreases in push-ups (−35.6%; 7.3–4.7 repetitions, P < .001, partial η2 = .371), sit-ups (−19.4%; 22.7–18.3 repetitions, P < .001, partial η2 = .420), and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run test (−26.7%; 31.4–22.4 laps, P < .001, partial η2 = .644) scores from PRE to POST. Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that both males and females exhibited significant anthropometric and physical performance losses during the Coronavirus disease 2019 shutdown.

The authors are with Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA.

Wahl-Alexander (zwahlalexander@niu.edu) is corresponding author.
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