Background and Aims: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown has represented an inedited model of increased metabolic risk in all age groups, due to negative changes in dietary habits, physical activity, lifestyle. These effects have been generally explored at a population level in distinct age groups. Potential intra-familial, specific effects in adults and children sharing the same socio-economic, cultural level and living habits have been scarcely explored. We aimed to characterize changes of anthropometric indices in parents and in their children during COVID-19 lockdown.

Methods: A cohort of 149 couple parent/children were prospectively enrolled. By a validated questionnaire we explored changes of body mass index (BMI) and individual lifestyle during a 2-month lockdown (May- July 2020).

Results: BMI increased in 70.5% of parents and in 67.8% of their children, with a Δ-BMI of 1.44+0.09 kg/ m 2 and 0.36+0.02 Kg/m 2 , respectively. BMI increments, however, were only significant in adults and did not correlate in the couple parents/children. Most adults (80.5%) and children (71.4%) did not perform regular physical activity during the lockdown. Direct correlations between dietary changes and BMI variations became evident in children, mainly in terms of a decreased consumption of fresh fruit, pulses, fish, and an increased consumption of cereals, carbohydrates, dairy products, olive oil. In normal weight, overweight and obese children, but not in adults, the increase in sleep hours increased with BMI.

Conclusions: Despite marked lifestyle changes imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown, BMI variations in parents were independent from those observed in their children, pointing to different outcomes in response to the same external, critical event. Thus, primary prevention measures aimed at maintaining a healthy lifestyle require different approaches according to age.


body mass index, COVID-19, diet, lockdown, obese, overweight, physical activity, sedentary behavior