Restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic reduced physical activity provision for both children and their parents. Recent studies have reported decreases in physical activity levels during lockdown restrictions, but these were largely reliant on self-report methods, with data collected via unrepresentative self-report surveys. The post-pandemic impacts on children’s activity levels remain unknown. A key question is how active children become once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Children’s MVPA was lower by 7–8 min/day in 2021 once restrictions were lifted than before the pandemic for all groups, on both weekdays and weekends. Previous research has shown that there is an undesirable age-related decline in children’s physical activity. The 8-min diference reported here would be broadly comparable to the decline that would have previously been expected to occur over a three-year period. Parents’ physical activity was similar to pre-pandemic levels. Our results suggest that despite easing of restrictions, children’s activity levels have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. There is an urgent need to understand why these changes have occurred and how
long they are maintained.