Changes in physical activity among United Kingdom university students following the implementation of coronavirus lockdown measures

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Abstract

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and resulting restrictions have significantly impacted physical activity levels. However, objectively measured changes in physical activity levels among UK university students during lockdown are understudied. Using data collected via remote measurement technology from a mobile physical activity tracker, this study aimed to describe the longitudinal trajectories of physical activity following the start of lockdown among students at a large UK university, and to investigate whether these trajectories varied according to age, gender, and ethnicity. Continuous physical activity data for steps walked per week (n = 730) and miles run per week (n = 264) were analysed over the first period of lockdown and subsequent restriction easing using negative binomial mixed models for repeated measures. Throughout the observation period, more steps were walked by males compared to females, and by White groups compared to all other ethnic groups combined. However, there was a gradual increase in the number of steps walked per week following the commencement of lockdown, irrespective of sociodemographic characteristics. For females only, there was a decrease in the number of miles run per week following lockdown. The long-term impact of the pandemic on physical health is unknown, but our results highlight changes in physical activity which could have implications for physical health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2792
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number6
Early online date10 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2021

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