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Impact of risk for severe COVID-19 illness on physical activity during the pandemic

Wierenga et al., Heart & Lung, doi:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2023.05.002
May 2023  
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Exercise for COVID-19
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Analysis of 640 adults in the USA, showing that adults at high risk of severe COVID-19 were disproportionately more likely to be physically inactive and had lower activity levels during the early months of the pandemic.
Wierenga et al., 8 May 2023, USA, peer-reviewed, survey, mean age 42.7, 9 authors. Contact:
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Impact of risk for severe COVID-19 illness on physical activity during the pandemic
PhD, RN a, * Kelly L Wierenga, PhD Susan M Perkins, PhD, RN a , Anna K Forster, BSN, RN a , Jennifer Alwine, MS b Susan Ofner, PhD, APRN, CCNS, CCRN, CNRN c , Malissa A Mulkey, Eileen Danaher Hacker, PhD, RN, FAAN a , Scott Susan J Pressler, Scott Emory Moore
Heart & Lung, doi:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2023.05.002
Background: Precautions to mitigate spread of COVID-19 such as the closing of exercise facilities impacted physical activity behaviors. Varied risks for severe COVID-19 may have influenced participation in regular physical activity to maintain precautions. Objective: Describe differences in the amount and intensity of physical activity between adults at high versus low risk for severe COVID-19 illness during the pandemic. We hypothesized that over 13 months, 1) highrisk adults would have greater odds of inactivity than low-risk adults, and 2) when active, high-risk adults would have lower metabolic equivalent of task minutes (MET-min) than low-risk adults. Methods: This longitudinal observational cohort study surveyed U.S. adults' demographics, health history, and physical activity beginning March 2020 using REDCap. Using self-report, health history was assessed with a modified Charlson Comorbidity Index and physical activity with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Repeated physical activity measurements were conducted in June, July, October, and December of 2020, and in April of 2021. Two models, a logistic model evaluating physical inactivity (hypothesis 1) and a gamma model evaluating total MET-min for physically active individuals (hypothesis 2), were used. Models were controlled for age, gender, and race. Results: The final sample consisted of 640 participants (mean age 42.7 § 15.7, 78% women, 90% white), with n = 175 categorized as high-risk and n = 465 as low-risk. The odds of inactivity for the high-risk adults were 2.8 to 4.1 times as high than for low-risk adults at baseline and 13 months. Active high-risk adults had lower MET-min levels than low-risk adults in March (28%, p = 0.001), June (29%, p = 0.002), and July of 2020 (30%, p = 0.005) only. Conclusions: Adults at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness were disproportionately more likely to be physically inactive and exhibit lower MET-min levels than adults at low risk during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accessed, None
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