Journal of Rural Medicine
Online ISSN : 1880-4888
Print ISSN : 1880-487X
ISSN-L : 1880-487X
Original Article
Effect of temporary school closure due to COVID-19 on musculoskeletal function in elementary school children
Ryoichi NakajimaHiroshi KamadaTaishu KasaiYohei TomaruMiki WakuAyano YamakiAtsuhiko BanShumpei MiyakawaMasashi YamazakiHitoshi Shiraki
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2021 Volume 16 Issue 3 Pages 154-159


Objective: In 2020, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) became the cause of a pandemic. In response, the Japan Sports Agency issued warnings about secondary damage to health, such as the threat to physical and mental well-being due to the lack of exercise in this situation. In this study, we report on cross-sectional and longitudinal examinations of standing trunk flexion to evaluate how temporary long-term school closures affected musculoskeletal function in elementary school students.

Patients and Methods: All children in one public elementary school in T-city during the school years 2019 and 2020 were included in this study. A digital forward flexion meter was used to measure standing trunk flexion.

Results: In this study, 284 (284/289: 98.3%) and 266 (266/274: 97.1%) children in school years 2020 and 2019, respectively, were found to have valid data for cross-sectional analysis. The standing trunk flexion did not show significant differences between grades or sexes. In the longitudinal analysis, the results of the comparison of standing trunk flexion in children for two consecutive years revealed significant differences only between grades 3 and 4 (P<0.05) and between girls in grades 3 and 4 (P<0.01), but no significant differences in other grades or among boys or girls were observed.

Conclusion: Initially, we expected that there would be a difference in the results of functional assessment using standing trunk flexion depending on the period of absence from school. However, the results of this study showed no significant changes in standing trunk flexion. Moreover, since children’s musculoskeletal functions may be affected by various factors during the COVID-19 pandemic, they should be carefully monitored in the future.

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