Impact of COVID pandemic on lifestyle changes among college students of a tertiary care institution in Puducherry: an explanatory mixed method study
Keywords:Coronavirus, Pandemic, Physical activity, Diet, Sleep, Screen time, Young adults
Background: The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our lifestyle-related habits mainly physical activity, sedentariness, sleep, dependence on social media and dietary habits. To study the impact of COVID-19 on lifestyle changes before and during the Pandemic in terms of physical activity, sleep, diet, screen time and to explore the barriers and facilitating factors to it.
Methods: The study is an explanatory mixed method study which involved quantitative data collection among 453 young adults followed by qualitative data exploration of their views and experiences through focus group discussions among 12 young adults selected using maximum variation sampling. Integration of findings were done using joint displays to provide more insights.
Results: During COVID-19, the quantitative results revealed a drop in physical activity levels by one fifth. There was decrease in consumption of unhealthy food and number of main meals, while duration of sleep and screen time increased significantly. Qualitative findings revealed lack of motivation, poor access to healthy environment, threat of COVID-19 infection and dependence on social media as barriers while cues to action, shift towards healthy habits, local adaptations, supportive environment as facilitators for the healthy lifestyle behavior.
Conclusions: Three-fourth of the students were in moderate to high physical activity but there was an overall decrease in levels during the pandemic. There was reduction in the intake of unhealthy foods and increase in sleep during the pandemic. However, the use of social media and digital aids was found to have increased, resulting in more screen time.
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