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0 0.5 1 1.5 2+ Long COVID 38% Improvement Relative Risk Long COVID (b) 4% Exercise  Paul et al.  Prophylaxis  LONG COVID Does physical activity reduce the risk of Long COVID (PASC)? Retrospective 1,811 patients in the United Kingdom Lower PASC with higher activity levels (not stat. sig., p=0.16) Paul et al., medRxiv, April 2022 Favors exercise Favors inactivity

Health behaviours the month prior to COVID-19 infection and the development of self-reported long COVID and specific long COVID symptoms: A longitudinal analysis of 1,811 UK adults

Paul et al., medRxiv, doi:10.1101/2022.04.12.22273792
Apr 2022  
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Retrospective 1,811 COVID-19 patients in the UK, showing lower risk of self-reported long COVID with 3+ hours of exercise per week in the month before infection, without statistical significance (p=0.16).
This study includes exercise and sleep.
risk of long COVID, 38.1% lower, RR 0.62, p = 0.16, adjusted per study, odds ratio converted to relative risk, 3+ hours per week vs. none, multivariable, model 4, control prevalance approximated with overall prevalence.
risk of long COVID, 4.1% lower, RR 0.96, p = 0.89, adjusted per study, odds ratio converted to relative risk, ≤2 hours per week vs. none, multivariable, model 4, control prevalance approximated with overall prevalence.
Effect extraction follows pre-specified rules prioritizing more serious outcomes. Submit updates
Paul et al., 13 Apr 2022, retrospective, United Kingdom, preprint, survey, 2 authors.
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Health behaviours the month prior to COVID-19 infection and the development of self-reported long COVID and specific long COVID symptoms: A longitudinal analysis of 1,811 UK adults
PhD Elise Paul, PhD Daisy Fancourt
Background Demographic and infection-related characteristics have been identified as risk factors for long COVID, but research on the influence of health behaviours (e.g., exercise, smoking) immediately preceding the index infection is lacking. Methods 1,811 UK adults from the UCL COVID-19 Social Study and who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were analysed. Health behaviours in the month before infection were weekly exercise frequency, days of fresh air per week, sleep quality, smoking, consuming more than the number of recommended alcoholic drinks per week (>14), and the number of mental health care behaviours (e.g., online mental health programme). Logistic regressions controlling for covariates (e.g., COVID-19 infection severity and pre-existing health conditions) examined the impact of health behaviours on long COVID and three long COVID symptoms (difficulty with mobility, cognition, and self-care). Results In the month before infection with COVID-19, poor quality sleep increased the odds of long COVID (odds ratio [OR]: 3.53; (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.01 to 6.21), as did average quality sleep (OR: 2.44; 95% CI: 1.44 to 4.12). Having smoked (OR: 8.39; 95% CI: 1.86 to 37.91) increased and meeting recommended weekly physical activity guidelines (3+ hours) (OR: 0.05; 95% CI: 0.01 to 0.39) reduced the likelihood of difficulty with self-care (e.g., washing all over or dressing) amongst those with long COVID. Conclusion Results point to the importance of sleep quality for long COVID, potentially helping to explain previously demonstrated links between stress and long COVID. Results also suggest that exercise and smoking may be modifiable risk factors for preventing the development of difficulty with self-care.
Ethics approval and consent to participate Ethical approval for the COVID-19 Social Study was granted by the UCL Ethics Committee. All participants provided fully informed consent and the study is GDPR compliant.
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