Prenatal exposure to gestational diabetes is associated with anxiety and physical inactivity in children during COVID-19.
Clinical obesity. 2021;(1):e12422
BACKGROUND The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with adverse child mental health outcomes and reduced physical activity. Moreover, prenatal exposure to gestational diabetes (GDM) is associated with increased risk for adverse psychological outcomes in children. OBJECTIVES Assess prenatal exposure to GDM on anxiety levels and physical activity in children during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS Sixty-five children age 9 to 15 reported their physical activity and anxiety levels using the 24-hours physical activity recall and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children via phone or video meetings. Prenatal exposure to GDM was obtained from maternal electronic medical records. RESULTS The 38 GDM-exposed children reported significantly higher anxiety levels and were less likely to engage in any vigorous physical activity (VPA) (5% vs 30%) compared to the 27 GDM-unexposed children. Lower levels of physical activity were significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety. Less engagement in VPA explained 75% of the association between GDM exposure and anxiety levels. CONCLUSIONS Engaging in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic may be beneficial for reducing anxiety, particularly amongst GDM-exposed children.