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Gemini Covid-19 study: immediate and longer-term impacts on the health, behaviour and wellbeing of U.K. families

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on U.K. families goes far beyond the devastating health implications of the virus itself. Added family stresses, including income loss, excessive confinement, social isolation and anxieties about health and education heighten pressure and volatility within the home. Children are among the most vulnerable in society. Changes to the home environment, where families are now spending virtually all of their time, are unprecedented. Children are increasingly reliant on digital devices, opportunities for physical activity have greatly diminished and the home-food environment has been impacted by disruptions to availability and accessibility. Collecting information on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the home environment, and the consequences for children's physical and mental health is an immediate priority. The Gemini study is an established nationally representative twin birth cohort which has been collecting detailed information about the twins and their families for the past 13 years. Gemini offers a unique opportunity because in the five months prior to U.K. 'lockdown', the study collected detailed information on the food, physical activity and media environments within the home, along with measures of health behaviours and psychological wellbeing. This timely and comprehensive baseline data can be combined with extensive information collected during the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath, enabling rapid characterisation of the impact of the pandemic on the family environment and child health. The immediate insights gained from this study will inform evidence-based guidance for how best to respond to the current pandemic to mitigate negative impacts for families, while simultaneously shaping policies to promote child health and wellbeing should future waves of infection emerge.

Lead investigator:

Alison Fildes


University of Leeds

Primary topic:

Families & households

Secondary topic:

Health, physical & mental

Region of data collection:


Country of data collection


Status of data collection

In Progress

Type of data being collected:

Survey (other/unclear)

Unit of real-time data collection



Periodic (other)