Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register
Flanagan 2020

The impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders on health behaviors in adults

  1. Study Type
  2. Observational
  1. Study Aim
  2. Other
  1. Study Design
  2. Cross-sectional
  1. Intervention Assignment
  2. Not Applicable

The impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders on health behaviors in adults

Flanagan EW, Beyl RA, Fearnbach SN, Altazan AD, Martin CK, Redman LM
Journal article
Report Results
OBJECTIVE: Stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced abrupt changes to daily routines. This study assessed lifestyle changes across different BMI classifications in response to the global pandemic. METHODS: The online survey targeting adults was distributed in April 2020 and collected information on dietary behaviors, physical activity, and mental health. All questions were presented as "before" and "since" the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: In total, 7,753 participants were included. The sample included 32.2% of individuals with normal weight, 32.1% overweight, and 34.0% had obesity. During the pandemic, overall scores for healthy eating increased (p<0.001), due to less eating out and increased cooking (p<0.001). Sedentary leisure behaviors increased while time spent in physical activity (absolute time and intensity-adjusted) declined (p<0.001). Anxiety scores increased 8.78±0.21 during the pandemic and the magnitude of increase was significantly greater in people with obesity (p≤0.01). Weight gain was reported in 27.5% of the total sample compared to 33.4% in participants with obesity. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic produced significant health effects, well beyond the virus itself. Government mandates together with fear of contracting the virus have significantly impacted lifestyle behaviors alongside declines in mental health. These deleterious impacts have disproportionally affected individuals with obesity