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Special Issue "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Sport and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Daheia J. Barr-Anderson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Associate Professor, Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 209 Cooke Hall, 1900 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
2. Director, Behavioral Physical Activity Lab, School of Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 209 Cooke Hall, 1900 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
Interests: physical activity; African-American and Black populations; the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity; behavioral interventions; sedentary behaviors; nutrition; social determinants; health disparities; health equity
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) welcomes submissions for a Special Issue focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behaviors. IJERPH is peer-reviewed scientific journal with a current impact factor of 2.849 (and a 5-year impact factor of 3.127) that publishes research articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of the environmental health sciences and public health. More details about the journal can be found at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) quickly resulted in a global pandemic. The rapid transmission of COVID-19 has disrupted all aspects of life and paralleled the swift dissemination of information on the potential impact on health behaviors. Of particular interest is the effect on physical activity and sedentary behaviors, which have long been identified as significant public health concerns. From mandatory stay-at-home orders, social distancing, the closure of many nonessential businesses, and restricted leisure-time activity options, COVID-19 potentially had an immediate impact on physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Over a year later, COVID-19 continues to influence these behaviors. It is pertinent for us to understand the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and sedentary behaviors to not only improve guidelines and recommendations but to better prepare us if we are faced with a similar crisis in the future.

This Special Issue will focus on emerging data on how COVID-19 has affected physical activity and sedentary behaviors. We are interested in such topics as, but not limited to:

  • The impact on physical activity, sport participation, or exercise;
  • Changes in sedentary behaviors such as recreational and nonrecreational screen use and social media use;
  • Exploration within various settings (i.e., homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities);
  • Examination within different populations (i.e., racial/ethnic and geographic location);
  • The implications for environmental, organizational, and/or policy changes.

Researchers are invited to contribute novel work to be considered for publication in this Special Issue. The submissions can include original articles, critical reviews (systematic or meta-analyses), brief reports, and short communications. There are no restrictions on study design or methodology (i.e., secondary analyses, cross-sectional or longitudinal designs, intervention studies, observational studies, case studies, etc., are all welcome). Articles that focus on underrepresented or disadvantaged communities are encouraged.

Dr. Daheia J. Barr-Anderson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • exercise
  • global pandemic
  • health promotion
  • media use
  • movement
  • physical activity
  • physical inactivity
  • sedentary behaviors
  • screen time
  • social media
  • sport participation

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Article
Stay-at-Home Orders during COVID-19: The Influence on Physical Activity and Recreational Screen Time Change among Diverse Emerging Adults and Future Implications for Health Promotion and the Prevention of Widening Health Disparities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13228; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182413228 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Background: The purpose of this study was to examine changes in physical activity (PA) and recreational screen time (RST) behaviors from pre-COVID-19 in 2018 to Spring 2020 during the mandatory stay-at-home order in an ethnically/racially, socioeconomically diverse sample of emerging adults. Methods: Longitudinal [...] Read more.
Background: The purpose of this study was to examine changes in physical activity (PA) and recreational screen time (RST) behaviors from pre-COVID-19 in 2018 to Spring 2020 during the mandatory stay-at-home order in an ethnically/racially, socioeconomically diverse sample of emerging adults. Methods: Longitudinal data were analyzed from 218 participants (Mage = 24.6 ± 2.0 years) who completed two surveys: EAT 2018 (Eating and Activity over Time) and C-EAT in 2020 (during COVID-19). Repeated ANCOVAs and multiple linear regression models were conducted. Results: Moderate-to-vigorous and total PA decreased (4.7 ± 0.3 to 3.5 ± 0.3 h/week [p < 0.001] and 7.9 ± 0.4 to 5.8 ± 0.4 h/week [p < 0.001], respectively), and RST increased from 26.5 ± 0.9 to 29.4 ± 0.8 h/week (p = 0.003). Perceived lack of neighborhood safety, ethnic/racial minoritized identities, and low socioeconomic status were significant predictors of lower PA and higher RST during COVID-19. For example, low SES was associated with 4.04 fewer hours of total PA compared to high SES (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Stay-at-home policies may have significantly influenced PA and RST levels in emerging adults with pre-existing disparities exacerbated during this mandatory period of sheltering-in-place. This suggests that the pandemic may have played a role in introducing or magnifying these disparities. Post-pandemic interventions will be needed to reverse trends in PA and RST, with a focus on improving neighborhood safety and meeting the needs of low socioeconomic and ethnic/racial minoritized groups. Full article
Article
Recreational Screen Time Use among a Small Sample of Canadians during the First Six Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12664; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312664 - 01 Dec 2021
Viewed by 425
Abstract
(1) Background: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused disruptions in the daily lives of individuals in Canada. Purpose: Examine how total and specific (i.e., watching television, using social media, going on the Internet, playing video games, and engaging in virtual social connection) recreational [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused disruptions in the daily lives of individuals in Canada. Purpose: Examine how total and specific (i.e., watching television, using social media, going on the Internet, playing video games, and engaging in virtual social connection) recreational screen time behaviours changed throughout the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, in comparison to pre-pandemic levels; (2) Methods: Sixty four Canadians (mostly Caucasian, female, age range = 21–77 years) completed monthly surveys from April to September of 2020; (3) Results: A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) and subsequent post hoc analysis revealed that total recreational screen time was statistically higher in late March/April (292.5 min/day ± 143.0) and into May, compared to pre-COVID-19 (187.8 min/day ± 118.3), before declining in subsequent months; (4) Conclusions: Generally, specific recreational screen time behaviours, such as time spent watching television, followed the same trend. Future studies with larger sample sizes and from other countries examining recreational screen time behaviours longitudinally over the pandemic are still needed to allow for greater generalizability. Full article
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Article
Changes in Families’ Leisure, Educational/Work and Social Screen Time Behaviours before and during COVID-19 in Australia: Findings from the Our Life at Home Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11335; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111335 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
This study aimed to understand differences in leisure, educational/work and social screen time behaviours experienced by parents and children due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which may inform behaviour change strategies and policy in the transition to a COVID-normal life. Participants in the “Our [...] Read more.
This study aimed to understand differences in leisure, educational/work and social screen time behaviours experienced by parents and children due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which may inform behaviour change strategies and policy in the transition to a COVID-normal life. Participants in the “Our Life at Home” study (n = 218 parents from Australia, 43.4 ± 6.8 years, 88% female) completed a cross-sectional online survey in April/May 2020. Parents recalled their own and their child (8.7 ± 2.0 years, 42% female) or adolescents (15.0 ± 1.5 years, 50% female) participation in nine screen time behaviours in the past month (during lockdown) and retrospectively for February 2020 (pre-lockdown), providing data on 436 individuals. Screen time behaviours included leisure (computer/laptop and tablet/smartphone for leisure, TV/videos/DVDs and game consoles); education/work (computer/laptop and tablet/smartphone for work/education); and social screen time (computer/tablet/smartphone for social communication with friends, family and work (parents only)). Wilcoxon signed-rank tests and effect sizes (r) compared the time spent in each behaviour pre-lockdown and during lockdown. Large differences were observed in social (parents: r = 0.41–0.57; children: r = 0.55–0.65; adolescents: r = 0.28–0.43) and education (children: r = 0.50–0.65 and adolescents: r = 0.25–0.37) behaviours. There were small or no differences in leisure time screen use. COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted parent’s and children’s screen time, and future research and policy should consider strategies to support families to manage screen time. Full article
Article
Weightlifting during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Transnational Study Regarding Motivation, Barriers, and Coping of Master Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18179343 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1457
Abstract
Sport has been heavily impacted by the pandemic for over a year with restrictions and closures of facilities. The main aims of this study are to identify motivation and barriers for an international group of Master weightlifters (ages 35 and up) and analyze [...] Read more.
Sport has been heavily impacted by the pandemic for over a year with restrictions and closures of facilities. The main aims of this study are to identify motivation and barriers for an international group of Master weightlifters (ages 35 and up) and analyze age and gender differences in pandemic-related changes to physical activities. A sample of 1051 older athletes, 523 women and 528 men, aged from 35 to 88 years, from Australia, Canada, Europe, and the USA provided responses to an online survey conducted in June 2021. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed to examine age, gender, and regional differences about motivation, barriers, and pandemic impact on sport and physical activities. Participants showed enthusiasm for the opportunity to compete despite health challenges with increasing age but faced barriers due to access to training facilities and qualified coaches even before the pandemic. The oldest athletes had the greatest reduction in physical activities during the pandemic. Weightlifters had the opportunity to compete in virtual competitions and 44% would like to see some of these continued in the future, especially women. These findings highlight the benefits of competitive sports and may provide future directions in strength sports for organizations, sports clubs, and coaches. Full article
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Article
COVID-19 Impact on Adolescent 24 h Movement Behaviors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9256; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18179256 - 02 Sep 2021
Viewed by 718
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 24 h movement behaviors of adolescents. This was conducted to capture their evolution from February to December 2020, as well as to explore the use of technology for physical activity [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 24 h movement behaviors of adolescents. This was conducted to capture their evolution from February to December 2020, as well as to explore the use of technology for physical activity purposes by adolescents as a strategy to increase their physical activity during the pandemic. Physical activity, recreational screen time, sleep duration, and sleep quality were self-reported by 2661 adolescents using an online questionnaire. Participants also indicated, in comparison with the previous winter (regular in-class learning), how their different movement behaviors changed during the following 2020 periods: (1) spring (school closures), (2) summer (school break), and (3) autumn (hybrid learning). Finally, information about the use of technology during physical activity was collected. Results show that the 24 h movement behaviors of the participants varied across the different periods, and these variations were consistent with the restrictive measures imposed by the government. It was also observed that the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep duration and quality peaked in autumn. Finally, participants’ physical activity levels were associated with the use of physical activity-related tools and applications. In conclusion, the restrictive measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation of the 24 h movement behaviors in adolescents, which has become critical. Full article
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Article
Recreational Screen Time Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the U.S.: A Mixed-Methods Study among a Diverse Population-Based Sample of Emerging Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4613; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094613 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1671
Abstract
Understanding how screen time behaviors changed during the COVID-19 pandemic is important to inform the design of health promotion interventions. The purpose of this study was to quantify and describe changes in recreational screen time from 2018 to 2020 among a diverse sample [...] Read more.
Understanding how screen time behaviors changed during the COVID-19 pandemic is important to inform the design of health promotion interventions. The purpose of this study was to quantify and describe changes in recreational screen time from 2018 to 2020 among a diverse sample of emerging adults. Participants (n = 716) reported their average weekly recreational screen time in 2018 and again during the pandemic in 2020. Additionally, participants qualitatively reported how events related to COVID-19 had influenced their screen time. Weekly recreational screen time increased from 25.9 ± 11.9 h in 2018 to 28.5 ± 11.6 h during COVID-19 (p < 0.001). The form of screen time most commonly reported to increase was TV shows and streaming services (n = 233). Commonly reported reasons for changes in screen time were boredom (n = 112) and a desire to connect with others (n = 52). Some participants reported trying to reduce screen time because of its negative impact on their mental health (n = 32). Findings suggest that screen time and mental health may be intertwined during the pandemic as it may lead to poorer mental health for some, while promoting connectedness for others. Health professionals and public health messaging could promote specific forms for screen time to encourage social connection during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Full article
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Article
Changes to Physical Activity during a Global Pandemic: A Mixed Methods Analysis among a Diverse Population-Based Sample of Emerging Adults in the U.S.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3674; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073674 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1568
Abstract
Emerging adults’ lives have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical activity (PA) behaviors need to be examined to inform interventions and improve health. Responses to the C-EAT (COVID-19 Eating and Activity over Time) survey (N = 720; age = 24.7 ± 2.0 [...] Read more.
Emerging adults’ lives have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical activity (PA) behaviors need to be examined to inform interventions and improve health. Responses to the C-EAT (COVID-19 Eating and Activity over Time) survey (N = 720; age = 24.7 ± 2.0 yrs) were analyzed. This mixed-methods study quantitatively examined changes in self-reported PA (hours/week of mild PA, moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), and total PA) from 2018 to 2020. Qualitative responses on how COVID-19 impacted PA were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Hours of PA were lower on average for all intensity levels during COVID-19 than in 2018 (p’s < 0.0001). Over half of the sample reported a decrease in MVPA (53.8%) and total PA (55.6%); 42.6% reported a decrease in mild PA. High SES were more likely to report an increase in total PA (p = 0.001) compared to those of lower SES. Most (83.6%) participants perceived that COVID-19 had influenced their PA. The most common explanations were decreased gym access, effects on outdoor PA, and increased dependence on at-home PA. Results suggest that emerging adults would benefit from behavioral interventions and health promotion efforts in response to the pandemic, with a focus on activities that can be easily performed in the home or in safe neighborhood spaces. Full article
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Protocol
Changes in Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Due to Enforced COVID-19-Related Lockdown and Movement Restrictions: A Protocol for a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5251; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105251 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1783
Abstract
Prolonged lockdown/restriction measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly impacted opportunities to be physically active for a large proportion of the population in affected countries globally. The exact changes to physical activity and sedentary behaviours due to these measures have not been [...] Read more.
Prolonged lockdown/restriction measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly impacted opportunities to be physically active for a large proportion of the population in affected countries globally. The exact changes to physical activity and sedentary behaviours due to these measures have not been fully studied. Accordingly, the objective of this PROSPERO-registered systematic review is to evaluate the available evidence on physical activity and sedentary behaviours in the general population during COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures, compared to prior to restrictions being in place. Defined searches to identify eligible studies published in English, from November 2019 up to the date of submission, will be conducted using the following databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PSYCinfo, Coronavirus Research Database, Public Health Database, Publicly Available Content Database, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar. The applied inclusion criteria were selected to identify observational studies with no restrictions placed on participants, with outcomes regarding physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour during lockdown/restriction measures, and with comparisons for these outcomes to a time when no such measures were in place. Where appropriate, results from included studies will be pooled and effect estimates will be presented in random effects meta-analyses. To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review to evaluate one complete year of published data on the impact of COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Thus, this systematic review and meta-analysis will constitute the most up-to-date synthesis of published evidence on any such documented changes, and so will comprehensively inform clinical practitioners, public health agencies, researchers, policymakers and the general public regarding the effects of lockdown/restriction measures on both physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Full article
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