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The Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown Measures on Physical Activity Levels and Sedentary Behaviour in a Relatively Young Population Living in Kosovo

  • Authors: Gjaka, Masar; Feka, Kaltrina; Bianco, Antonino; Tishukaj, Faton; Giustino, Valerio; Parroco, Anna Maria; Palma, Antonio; Battaglia, Giuseppe
  • Publication year: 2021
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • Key words: COVID-19; Kosovo; physical activity; public health; restrictions
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To abate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, different restriction measures were imperative, limiting the possibility to be engaged in physical activity. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of COVID-19 lockdown on physical activity (PA) levels expressed as energy expenditure (MET-min/week) and sedentary behaviour in Kosovo. The possible association between PA levels and other factors was analyzed. 1633 participants (age range: 13 to 63 years; mean: 24.70 ± 9.33 years; body height: 172 ± 10.57 cm; body mass: 69.10 ± 13.80 kg; BMI: 23.09 ± 3.63 kg/m2) participated in the study, categorized by age, gender, BMI, and living area. An online survey, including an adapted version of the IPAQ-SF, was administered once during lockdown to assess PA levels and sedentary behaviour both before and during COVID-19 lockdown. The Wilcoxon signed-rank, Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis rank of sum tests were used for statistical analysis. COVID-19 restrictions had a negative impact on the types of and overall PA levels MET-min/week (p < 0.001). Sedentary behaviour significantly increased during COVID-19 restrictions (p < 0.001). Higher decreases in MET-min/week during lockdown were observed among males, young and young adults, overweight, and urban-living participants. Finally, COVID-19 restrictions decreased the PA levels and MET-min/week, and increased sedentary behaviour also in a relatively young cohort. Such differences were dependent on several factors.