Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: Changes in physical activity associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with overweight and obesity: An interrupted time series analysis with historical controls
|ROBERTSON, MICHAEL - Md Anderson Cancer Center|
|LEE, CHE - Md Anderson Cancer Center|
|WU, IVAN - Md Anderson Cancer Center|
|LIAO, YUE - University Of Texas|
|RABER, MARGARET - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)|
|PARKER, NATHAN - H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center|
|GATUS, LETICIA - Md Anderson Cancer Center|
|BASEN-ENGQUIST, KAREN - Md Anderson Cancer Center|
Submitted to: Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/2021
Publication Date: 10/26/2021
Citation: Robertson, M.C., Lee, C.Y., Wu, I.H., Liao, Y., Raber, M., Parker, N., Gatus, L., Basen-Engquist, K.M. 2021. Changes in physical activity associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with overweight and obesity: An interrupted time series analysis with historical controls. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-021-00261-7.
Interpretive Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life in ways we are still trying to understand. One health behavior that may have been impacted by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns is physical activity. We examined changes in physical activity patterns due to the pandemic by comparing cohorts of participants in a healthy lifestyle program in years before (2018-2019) and after (2019-2020) the start of COVID-19. Using Fitbit devices and questionnaires, we found that program participants during COVID-19 did less lightly active exercise, but more very active exercise compared to program participants from the year before. Reasons for reducing exercise noted by participants included less motivation, gym closures and concerns for health. However, participants also noted that increases in extra time and health consciousness were reasons for increasing physical activity. These findings revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic was related to changes in physical activity in both positive and negative ways.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate changes in physical activity patterns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with overweight and obesity who were participating in a school district worksite weight loss program. We conducted comparative design interrupted time series analyses on physical activity device (Fitbit) data from the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 school years (N=211). We administered a questionnaire in 2020 to supplement device data. After the stay-at-home orders in 2020, participants tended to decrease their weekly step count (B=-1315.7, SE=627.7, p=.045), decrease their weekly "Lightly active minutes" (B=-39.1, SE=12.6, p=.007), and increase their weekly "Very active minutes" compared to their counterparts from the year before (B=7.6, SE=3.2, p=.020). Decreased motivation, gym closures, and safety concerns were cited as barriers to physical activity. Having more time and health consciousness were cited as facilitators of physical activity. The COVID-19 pandemic was related to changes in physical activity in both positive and negative ways, revealing opportunities to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors in this population. More research is needed to determine optimal approaches to health promotion in the post-COVID-19 era.