The impact of COVID-19 on physical (in)activity behavior in 10 Arab countries
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CitationSabbah, H., Taha, Z., Qasrawi, R., Assaf, E. A., Ismail, L. C. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on physical (in)activity behavior in 10 Arab countries. International Journal of Enviromental Research and Public Health, 19(17).
Insufficient physical activity is considered a strong risk factor associated with non-communicable diseases. This study aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 on physical (in)activity behavior in 10 Arab countries before and during the lockdown. A cross-sectional study using a validated online survey was launched originally in 38 different countries. The Eastern Mediterranean regional data related to the 10 Arabic countries that participated in the survey were selected for analysis in this study. A total of 12,433 participants were included in this analysis. The mean age of the participants was 30.3 (SD, 11.7) years. Descriptive and regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between physical activity levels and the participants' sociodemographic characteristics, watching TV, screen time, and computer usage. Physical activity levels decreased significantly during the lockdown. Participants' country of origin, gender, and education were associated with physical activity before and during the lockdown (p < 0.050). Older age, watching TV, and using computers had a negative effect on physical activity before and during the lockdown (p < 0.050). Strategies to improve physical activity and minimize sedentary behavior should be implemented, as well as to reduce unhealthy levels of inactive time, especially during times of crisis. Further research on the influence of a lack of physical activity on overall health status, as well as on the COVID-19 disease effect is recommended.