Changes in diet, activity, weight, and wellbeing of parents during COVID-19 lockdown

Rachel G. Curtis*, Timothy Olds, Ty Ferguson, François Fraysse, Dorothea Dumuid, Adrian Esterman, Gilly A. Hendrie, Wendy J. Brown, Rajini Lagiseti, Carol A. Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted lifestyle behaviour as public health initiatives aim to "flatten the curve". This study examined changes in activity patterns (physical activity, sedentary time, sleep), recreational physical activities, diet, weight and wellbeing from before to during COVID-19 restrictions in Adelaide, Australia. This study used data from a prospective cohort of Australian adults (parents of primary school-aged children; n = 61, 66% female, aged 41±6 years). Participants wore a Fitbit Charge 3 activity monitor and weighed themselves daily using Wi-Fi scales. Activity and weight data were extracted for 14 days before (February 2020) and 14 days during (April 2020) COVID-19 restrictions. Participants reported their recreational physical activity, diet and wellbeing during these periods. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine change over time. Participants slept 27 minutes longer (95% CI 9-51), got up 38 minutes later (95% CI 25-50), and did 50 fewer minutes (95% CI -69-29) of light physical activity during COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, participants engaged in more cycling but less swimming, team sports and boating or sailing. Participants consumed a lower percentage of energy from protein (-0.8, 95% CI-1.5-0.1) and a greater percentage of energy from alcohol (0.9, 95% CI 0.2-1.7). There were no changes in weight or wellbeing. Overall, the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on lifestyle were small; however, their impact on health and wellbeing may accumulate over time. Further research examining the effects of ongoing social distancing restrictions are needed as the pandemic continues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0248008
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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