Association between Self-Classification of COVID-19 Risk Levels and Adverse Lifestyle Changes among Physically Active Older Adults following the Coronavirus Outbreak

Pnina Marom, Beth G. Zalcman, Rachel Dankner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed barriers to a healthy lifestyle, especially for older adults who are considered to be at a high-risk of infection. This study examined the associations between negative changes and the self-classification to COVID-19 risk level among physically active older adults who are members of a nationwide health club chain. A cross-sectional digital survey was sent to 19,160 older adults (age ≥ 65). The data collected included information on the subjects’ self-classification to the COVID-19 high-risk group (HRG) and changes in physical activity (PA), body weight, and smoking habits since the outbreak. Logistic regression models were used to investigate the associations between the dependent variables of ‘experienced a negative change’ and the independent variables. Of the 1670 survey respondents, 78.3% classified themselves as COVID-19 HRG. Over half of the respondents reported a reduction in PA hours, 26.6% reported weight gain, and 17.7% of smokers increased their amount of smoking. A self-classification to the HRG was associated with 1.46 (95%CI 1.10–1.93, p < 0.009) and 1.67 (95%CI 1.21–2.31, p < 0.002) greater odds for reduced hours of exercise and weight gain compared to the not high-risk group, respectively. Decision makers should consider how policies may cause barriers to a healthy lifestyle and develop risk communication strategies to encourage positive health-related behaviors, even during a pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7039
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • body weight
  • health behavior change
  • pandemic
  • physical activity
  • risk perception
  • smoking

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