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Objective: To determine how pediatric patients in the process of preparing for bariatric surgery in the Weight Management Clinics at Children’s Mercy Hospital believe their weight, sleep, food, and exercise quantities impact their health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their overall opinions on the severity of COVID-19.
Methods: Participants (N=52, 67% female) received three surveys over the course of six months (Baseline, 3 months, 6 months). They were asked to evaluate how strongly they believed the above factors would affect the severity of their illness if they were to contract COVID-19. They rated on a 5-point Likart scale, and their responses reflected whether these beliefs changed during the course of the pandemic.
Results: 30/52 completed baseline assessments, 27 completed the 3 month survey, and 13 completed the 6 month survey. Of these, 10 completed all three surveys. Preliminary results showed that participants’ beliefs toward the severity of COVID-19 were decreased across most parameters, with the largest decrease occurring when asked their agreement with the statement, “I am more worried about my health now, than before COVID-19,” dropping from an average of 3.1 to 2.4. Participants reported the highest agreement when asked “I believe COVID-19 is a serious disease” with an average of 4.7 at baseline, 4.6 at 3 months, and 4.5 at 6 months. Participants reported the lowest agreement when asked “If I get COVID-19, I think the foods I am eating now will affect how sick I get” with an average of 2.3, 2.6, and 2.3 at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months, respectively.
Conclusion: We know weight gain has been common in children and adults during the pandemic, but participants in our study, while understanding the severity of COVID, are not attributing it to their own health risk. We hypothesized that over time, participants would have improved health awareness and express a stronger correlation between their weight, sleep, food, and exercise and the severity of their illness were they to contract COVID-19. Preliminary results show that participants became less worried over time across multiple parameters, except for their awareness of COVID-19. Strengths of this study include initiation of data collection at the beginning of the pandemic from a high-risk population, while limitations include the reduced number of participants who completed all surveys, which makes extrapolation of data over time difficult. Further research is needed to understand how to motivate people to improve their health during COVID-19.
Li, Bingjie; Sweeney, Brooke; Skinner, Denise; Miller, Bryce; and Papa, Amy, "Pediatric Bariatric Patients’ Perception Of Health Status During Covid-19 Pandemic" (2021). Research at Children's Mercy Month 2021. 27.