Did COVID-19 Pandemic Change People’s Physical Activity Distribution, Eating, and Alcohol Consumption Habits as well as Body Mass Index?
Lochbaum, Marc (TTU)
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This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate whether COVID-19 had an impact on people’s (aged 18–74) physical activity distribution, eating, and alcohol consumption habits as well as body mass index. We interviewed 6369 people (4545 women and 1824 men) in Lithuania before the COVID-19 pandemic started and 2392 during COVID-19 (1856 women and 536 men). They were aged 18–74 years. We found that both genders had not stopped their physical activity (PA) completely because of lockdown imitations (for example, prohibition from attending sport clubs), but they started doing different physical exercises at sport clubs. We determined the PA distribution according to the Danish Physical Activity Questionnaire (DPAQ). Despite increases in independent PA and the quantity of light PA, the amount of total energy used in metabolic equivalent of task (MET) units per day decreased significantly for both genders irrespective of age. Although the amounts of sedentary behavior, moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA) or a combination of MPA and VPA (MVPA) did not change significantly. Surprisingly, lockdown reduced the duration of sleep for older women but increased their amount of intense VPA (>6 METs). However, the amount of intense VPA decreased for men. Both genders reported overeating less during the pandemic than before it, but did not start consuming more alcohol, and their body mass index did not change. Thus, the COVID-19 in Lithuania represented ‘good stress’ that mobilized these individuals to exercise more independently and overeat less.