13 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
The COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in a context of notable inequalities in the distribution of the social determinants of health. It is possible that the housing conditions in which children and their families experienced the confinement, and the adoption of healthy behaviors, may have followed unequal patterns. The aim was to describe social inequalities in housing conditions and in health-related behaviors among children during the lockdown in Spain. This cross-sectional study was based on data from an online survey collecting information on the child population (3-12 years) living in Spain (
= 10,765). The outcome variables used were several housing conditions and health-related behaviors. The socioeconomic variables used were financial difficulties and parents' educational level. Crude prevalence and prevalence ratios estimated using Poisson models were calculated. During lockdown, children from families with low educational levels and financial difficulties not only tended to live in poor housing conditions, but were also exposed to negative health determinants such as noise and tobacco smoke; they took less physical exercise, had a poorer diet, spent more time in front of screens and had less social contact. A notable social gradient was found in most of the variables analyzed. The results point to the need to incorporate the perspective of equity in the adoption of policies in order to avoid the increase of pre-existing social inequalities in the context of a pandemic.