The South Asian Birth Cohort during the COVID‑19 pandemic: understanding the impact on children and families

Wahi, Gita | $149,997

Ontario McMaster University 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

The COVID‑19 pandemic has led to negative health consequences for children and families including poor mental health and negative impacts to health behaviours. Given emerging evidence that racialized groups such as South Asians experienced greater COVID‑19 burdens in other areas (e.g., infection rates, loss of income, mortality), it is important to examine the differences in impacts of the pandemic on racialized families. This project represents a unique opportunity to gather essential information about the health of South Asian families and children living in one of Canada’s COVID‑19 hotspots. We will do this by contacting families from the South Asian Birth cohort (START) study. This is a study of South Asian children and families living in Ontario, Canada. The study collects information at regularly spaced intervals over many years to help understand how diseases such as diabetes and heart disease begin. The information collected for this project will help us answer three important questions related to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on South Asian children and families: 1) What is the impact on the mental health of South Asian children and parents as measured with, and compared to, the Ontario Parent Survey? 2) What are changes in health-related behaviours (e.g., diet, physical activity, screen time and sleep) compared to the previous measures of these behaviours in the START cohort? 3) How are the experiences, facilitators, and barriers to health and wellbeing through the COVID‑19 pandemic and recovery efforts encountered by South Asian families? All of this information will enable us to understand the range of mental health and health behaviour changes among South Asian children in Canada and the contributing factors essential to support equitable and community-led strategies which will be key to recovery.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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