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Publication Detail
Longitudinal changes in physical activity during and after the first national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in England
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Bu F, Bone JK, Mitchell JJ, Steptoe A, Fancourt D
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Scientific Reports
  • Volume:
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  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Recent studies have shown reduced physical activity at early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a lack of investigation on longitudinal changes in physical activity beyond lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Moreover, it is unclear if there is heterogeneity in physical activity growth trajectories. This study aimed to explore longitudinal patterns of physical activity and factors associated with them. Data were from the UCL COVID-19 Social Study. The analytical sample consisted of 35,915 adults in England who were followed up for 22 weeks from 24th March to 23rd August 2020. Data were analysed using growth mixture models. Our analyses identified six classes of growth trajectories, including three stable classes showing little change over time (62.4% in total), two classes showing decreasing physical activity (28.6%), and one class showing increasing physical activity over time (9%). A range of factors were found to be associated the class membership of physical activity trajectories, such as age, gender, education, income, employment status, and health. There is substantial heterogeneity in longitudinal changes in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a substantial proportion of our sample showed persistent physical inactivity or decreasing physical activity. Given the well-established link between physical activity and health, persistent or increased physical inactivity is likely to have both immediate and long-term implications for people’s physical and mental health, as well as general wellbeing. More efforts are needed to promote physical activity during the pandemic and beyond.
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