Changes in health behaviors, mental and physical health among older adults under severe lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain
AbstractBackgroundWe aimed to examine main changes in health behaviors, mental and physical health among older adults under severe lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19.MethodsWe used prospective data from 3041 participants in four cohorts of community-dwelling individuals aged ≥65 years in Spain. Data were obtained using validated questionnaires through a pre-pandemic face-to-face interview and a telephone interview conducted between weeks 7 to 15 after the beginning the COVID-19 lockdown.
... Lineal or multinomial, as appropriate, regression models with adjustment for the main confounders were used to assess changes in the outcome variables from the pre-pandemic to the confinement period, and to identify their associated factors.ResultsOn average, the confinement was not associated with a deterioration in lifestyle risk factors (smoking, alcohol intake, diet or weight), except for a decreased physical activity and increased sedentary time, which reversed with the end of confinement. However, chronic pain worsened, and moderate declines in mental health, that did not seem to reverse after restrictions were lifted, were observed. Several subgroups of individuals were at increased risk of developing unhealthier lifestyles or mental health decline with confinement: (i)-males (for physical activity and sedentariness), (ii)-those with greater social isolation (for diet, physical activity, mental health), (iii)-feelings of loneliness (for diet, sleep quality, mental health), (iv)-poor housing conditions (for diet, physical activity, TV viewing time), (v)-unhealthy sleep duration (for physical activity and sedentariness), and (vi-worse overall health or chronic morbidities (for physical activity, screen time, mental health). On the other hand, previously having a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet and doing more physical activity protected older adults from developing unhealthier lifestyles with confinement.ConclusionsThe lockdown during the first wave of the COVID-19 in Spain, which was one of the most restrictive in Europe, only led to minor average changes in health behaviors among older adults. However, mental health was moderately affected. If another lockdown were imposed on this or future pandemics, public health programs should specially address the needs of older individuals with male sex, greater social isolation, poor housing conditions and chronic morbidities, because of their greater vulnerability to the enacted movement restrictions