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COVID-19 Pandemic Has Had Impact on Parent, Child Well-Being

27 percent of parents report worsening mental health; 14 percent report worsening child behavioral health

FRIDAY, July 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on the physical and emotional well-being of parents and children, according to a study published online July 24 in Pediatrics.

Stephen W. Patrick, M.D., M.P.H., from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues conducted a national survey of parents with children younger than 18 years to measure the physical and emotional well-being of parents and children since the pandemic began.

The researchers found that 27 and 14 percent of parents reported worsening mental health for themselves and worsening behavioral health for their children, respectively, since March 2020. There was an increase in the proportion of families with moderate or severe food insecurity from 6 to 8 percent before and after March 2020; a decrease in employer-sponsored insurance coverage of children was also seen, from 63 to 60 percent; and 24 percent of parents reported loss of regular child care. In nearly one in 10 families, worsening mental health for parents occurred alongside worsening behavioral health for children; of these, 48, 16, and 11 percent reported loss of regular child care, change in insurance status, and worsening food security, respectively.

"COVID-19 and measures to control its spread have had a substantial effect on the nation's children," Patrick said in a statement. "Today an increasing number of the nation's children are going hungry, losing…employer-sponsored insurance and their regular child care. The situation is urgent and requires immediate attention from federal and state policymakers."

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