Dyspnea index

The pandemic had an extremely negative impact on the physical and mental development of the younger generation. This is the conclusion reached by Professor Martin Duclos, who heads the Department of Sports Medicine at the University Hospital in Clermont-Ferrand, as well as the National Center for Monitoring Physical Activity and Inactivity (ONAPS).

On her initiative, from September 2019 to September 2020, studies were carried out among elementary school students in Vichy (department of Allier) and Ryom (department of Puy-de-Dôme), and the scientist called their results “horrific”. It turned out that during the time of successive lockdowns, schoolchildren most often had to stay at home and study at a distance, their body mass index (height divided by weight squared) increased by several points. “We have never encountered such a thing before, – states Martin Duclos. – Quite athletic children who did not have health and weight problems gained an average of 5-10 kilograms due to the fact that they were forced to stop playing sports. no one has resumed them since. “

In order to determine how much the physical fitness of the children has deteriorated, a number of tests were carried out. One of them was a shuttle run with acceleration between two racks, regulated by sound signals. If before all the schoolchildren successfully coped with this, then after the quarantine sitting they were not able to do it. Shortness of breath appeared already in the first 10 meters. Moreover, as established by experts from Clermont-Ferrand, in a year, the cognitive abilities of children decreased by about 40 percent. To do this, they suggested that the schoolchildren bring the scattered letters of the alphabet and numbers into line in order of priority. At the same time, the guys had to meet a strictly defined time. So, before the pandemic, everyone easily completed this task, and after that many failed to do this. “The year of quarantine was a disaster at such a crucial period in the formation of neural plasticity of the brain,” sums up Martin Duclos.

Very athletic children gained an average of 5-10 kilograms during the pandemic

The situation is really threatening, given that earlier, according to the ONAPS center, 87 percent of children aged 11 to 17 years spent physical exercises less than an hour, this minimum recommended by the World Health Organization. Now, as it turned out, there are even more of them – almost 95 percent. And another disturbing fact, which was announced at the end of last year by the National Health Security Agency: two-thirds of French children and adolescents spend more than two hours a day in front of computer screens, ignoring sports.