Background: Public health recommendations and governmental measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in numerous restrictions on daily living including social distancing, isolation and home confinement. While these measures are imperative to abate the spreading of COVID-19, the impact of these restrictions on health behaviours and lifestyles at home is undefined. Therefore, an international online survey was launched in April 2020, in seven languages, to elucidate the behavioural and lifestyle consequences of COVID-19 restrictions. This report presents the results from the first thousand responders on physical activity (PA) and nutrition behaviours.
Methods: Following a structured review of the literature, the “Effects of home Confinement on multiple Lifestyle Behaviours during the COVID-19 outbreak (ECLB-COVID19)” Electronic survey was designed by a steering group of multidisciplinary scientists and academics. The survey was uploaded and shared on the Google online survey platform. Thirty-five research organisations from Europe, North-Africa, Western Asia and the Americas promoted the survey in English, German, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Slovenian languages. Questions were presented in a differential format, with questions related to responses “before” and “during” confinement conditions.
Results: 1047 replies (54% women) from Asia (36%), Africa (40%), Europe (21%) and other (3%) were included in the analysis. The COVID-19 home confinement had a negative effect on all PA intensity levels (vigorous, moderate, walking and overall). Additionally, daily sitting time increased from 5 to 8 h per day. Food consumption and meal patterns (the type of food, eating out of control, snacks between meals, number of main meals) were more unhealthy during confinement, with only alcohol binge drinking decreasing significantly.
Conclusion: While isolation is a necessary measure to protect public health, results indicate that it alters physical activity and eating behaviours in a health compromising direction. A more detailed analysis of survey data will allow for a segregation of these responses in different age groups, countries and other subgroups, which will help develop interventions to mitigate the negative lifestyle behaviours that have manifested during the COVID-19 confinement.
- Physical activity
- Public health