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      A changed research landscape of youth's obesogenic behaviours and environments in the post‐COVID‐19 era

      1 , 2 ,
      Obesity Reviews
      John Wiley and Sons Inc.
      behaviour, built environment, COVID‐19, food environment, lifestyle, obesity, obesogenic environment, youth

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          The project ‘Obesogenic Environment and Childhood Obesity’ (OBECHO), carried out under the leadership of the International Institute of Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE), has reviewed all sufficiently reported studies of obesogenic environmental determinants published prior to 1 January 2019. Findings of the OBECHO project have formed the unprecedentedly inclusive evidence for policy‐making and the establishment of the future research agenda regarding the obesogenic environment. Furthermore, the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic has made this evidence become an important benchmark record of how youths have interacted with the obesogenic environment in the pre‐COVID‐19 era. The implementation of lockdown measures worldwide for curbing COVID‐19 transmission has been affecting not mere youth's lifestyle behaviours and weight status but, more fundamentally, obesogenic environments and hence youth‐environment interaction patterns. However, COVID‐19, although causing unfavoured changes, will speed up the transformation of the research landscape from traditional to modern modes for more reliable evidence. We should closely track and study those abnormalities caused by COVID‐19 and the accompanying interventions.

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          COVID-19 Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children

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            Why inequality could spread COVID-19

            Pandemics rarely affect all people in a uniform way. The Black Death in the 14th century reduced the global population by a third, with the highest number of deaths observed among the poorest populations. 1 Densely populated with malnourished and overworked peasants, medieval Europe was a fertile breeding ground for the bubonic plague. Seven centuries on—with a global gross domestic product of almost US$100 trillion—is our world adequately resourced to prevent another pandemic? 2 Current evidence from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic would suggest otherwise. Estimates indicate that COVID-19 could cost the world more than $10 trillion, 3 although considerable uncertainty exists with regard to the reach of the virus and the efficacy of the policy response. For each percentage point reduction in the global economy, more than 10 million people are plunged into poverty worldwide. 3 Considering that the poorest populations are more likely to have chronic conditions, this puts them at higher risk of COVID-19-associated mortality. Since the pandemic has perpetuated an economic crisis, unemployment rates will rise substantially and weakened welfare safety nets further threaten health and social insecurity. Working should never come at the expense of an individual's health nor to public health. In the USA, instances of unexpected medical billings for uninsured patients treated for COVID-19 and carriers continuing to work for fear of redundancy have already been documented. 4 Despite employment safeguards recently being passed into law in some high-income countries, such as the UK and the USA, low-income groups are wary of these assurances since they have experience of long-standing difficulties navigating complex benefits systems, 4 and many workers (including the self-employed) can be omitted from such contingency plans. The implications of inadequate financial protections for low-wage workers are more evident in countries with higher levels of extreme poverty, such as India. In recent pandemics, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome, doctors were vectors of disease transmission due to inadequate testing and personal protective equipment. 5 History seems to be repeating itself, with clinicians comprising more than a tenth of all COVID-19 cases in Spain and Italy. With a projected global shortage of 15 million health-care workers by 2030, governments have left essential personnel exposed in this time of need. Poor populations lacking access to health services in normal circumstances are left most vulnerable during times of crisis. Misinformation and miscommunication disproportionally affect individuals with less access to information channels, who are thus more likely to ignore government health warnings. 6 With the introduction of physical distancing measures, household internet coverage should be made ubiquitous. The inequitable response to COVID-19 is already evident. Healthy life expectancy and mortality rates have historically been markedly disproportionate between the richest and poorest populations. The full effects of COVID-19 are yet to be seen, while the disease begins to spread across the most fragile settings, including conflict zones, prisons, and refugee camps. As the global economy plunges deeper into an economic crisis and government bailout programmes continue to prioritise industry, scarce resources and funding allocation decisions must aim to reduce inequities rather than exacerbate them.
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              The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health


                Author and article information

                Obes Rev
                Obes Rev
                Obesity Reviews
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                30 November 2020
                : 10.1111/obr.13162
                [ 1 ] Department of Land Surveying and Geo‐Informatics The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong China
                [ 2 ] International Institute of Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE) Hong Kong China
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] Correspondence

                Peng Jia, PhD, Director, International Institute of Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE); Department of Land Surveying and Geo‐Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China.

                Email: jiapengff@ 123456hotmail.com

                Author information
                © 2020 World Obesity Federation

                This article is being made freely available through PubMed Central as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency response. It can be used for unrestricted research re-use and analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source, for the duration of the public health emergency.

                : 05 October 2020
                : 07 October 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Pages: 4, Words: 2764
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                behaviour,built environment,covid‐19,food environment,lifestyle,obesity,obesogenic environment,youth


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