DOI: 10.1177/08901171231199399 ISSN:

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Health Behaviors and Outcomes by Age Group and Race Ethnicity: Results From Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data

Shipra Singh, Mounika Polavarapu, Katharine Vallerand, Sundaye S. Moore
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health (social science)

Examine changes in health behaviors and outcomes during early-pandemic (2020) vs pre-pandemic (2019) by age-group and race/ethnicity. Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System datasets from 2019 (n = 418 268) and 2020 (n = 401 958). All participants reported less likely to exercise (aOR, .78; 95% CI: .73-.83) and poor physical health (aOR, .91; 95% CI: .86-.98), but excellent general health (aOR, 1.33; 1.17-1.53) during 2020 vs 2019. Compared to 2019, during 2020 (i) Blacks were more likely to exercise (aOR, 1.24; 95% CI: 1.02-1.51) and have excellent general health (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI: 1.13-2.54); (ii) Hispanics were less likely to exercise (aOR, .80; 95% CI: .74-.88), but more likely to have excellent general health (aOR, 2.44; 95% CI: 1.79-3.33) and mental health (aOR, 1.41; 95% CI: 1.15-1.72); and (iii) Whites were less likely to exercise (aOR, .58; 95% CI: .50-.67) and have good physical health (aOR, 0.89; 95% CI: .82-.95). All age groups, except 18-24 years, were less likely to exercise by 18%-39% during 2020 vs 2019. Futhermore, 55-64 years age-group was 36% more likely to report excellent general health but 14% less likely to have good physical health. Identifying the most vulnerable racial/ethnic and age-group is pivotal to prioritizing public health resources and interventions to mitigate the impact of health crises.

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