Global impacts of COVID-19 on lifestyles and health and preparation preferences: An international survey of 30 countries

Jiaying Li, Daniel Yee Tak Fong, Kris Yuet Wan Lok, Janet Yuen Ha Wong, Mandy Man Ho, Edmond Pui Hang Choi, Vinciya Pandian, Patricia M. Davidson, Wenjie Duan, Marie Tarrant, Jung Jae Lee, Chia Chin Lin, Oluwadamilare Akingbade, Khalid M. Alabdulwahhab, Mohammad Shakil Ahmad, Mohamed Alboraie, Meshari A. Alzahrani, Anil S. Bilimale, Sawitree Boonpatcharanon, Samuel ByiringiroMuhammad Kamil Che Hasan, Luisa Clausi Schettini, Walter Corzo, Josephine M. De Leon, Anjanette S. De Leon, Hiba Deek, Fabio Efficace, Mayssah A. El Nayal, Fathiya El-Raey, Eduardo Ensaldo-Carrasco, Pilar Escotorin, Oluwadamilola Agnes Fadodun, Israel Opeyemi Fawole, Yong Shian Shawn Goh, Devi Irawan, Naimah Ebrahim Khan, Binu Koirala, Ashish Krishna, Cannas Kwok, Tung Thanh Le, Daniela Giambruno Leal, Miguel Ángel Lezana-Fernández, Emery Manirambona, Leandro Cruz Mantoani, Fernando Meneses-González, Iman Elmahdi Mohamed, Madeleine Mukeshimana, Chinh Thi Minh Nguyen, Huong Thi Thanh Nguyen, Khanh Thi Nguyen, Son Truong Nguyen, Mohd Said Nurumal, Aimable Nzabonimana, Nagla Abdelrahim Mohamed Ahmed Omer, Oluwabunmi Ogungbe, Angela Chiu Yin Poon, Areli Reséndiz-Rodriguez, Busayasachee Puang-Ngern, Ceryl G. Sagun, Riyaz Ahmed Shaik, Nikhil Gauri Shankar, Kathrin Sommer, Edgardo Toro, Hanh Thi Hong Tran, Elvira L. Urgel, Emmanuel Uwiringiyimana, Tita Vanichbuncha, Naglaa Youssef

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Background The health area being greatest impacted by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and residents’ perspective to better prepare for future pandemic remain unknown. We aimed to assess and make cross-country and cross-region comparisons of the global impacts of COVID-19 and preparation preferences of pandemic. Methods We recruited adults in 30 countries covering all World Health Organization (WHO) regions from July 2020 to August 2021. 5 Likertpoint scales were used to measure their perceived change in 32 aspects due to COVID-19 (-2 = substantially reduced to 2 = substantially increased) and perceived importance of 13 preparations (1 = not important to 5 = extremely important). Samples were stratified by age and gender in the corresponding countries. Multidimensional preference analysis displays disparities between 30 countries, WHO regions, economic development levels, and COVID-19 severity levels. Results 16 512 adults participated, with 10 351 females. Among 32 aspects of impact, the most affected were having a meal at home (mean (m) = 0.84, standard error (SE) = 0.01), cooking at home (m = 0.78, SE = 0.01), social activities (m = -0.68, SE = 0.01), duration of screen time (m = 0.67, SE = 0.01), and duration of sitting (m = 0.59, SE = 0.01). Alcohol (m = -0.36, SE = 0.01) and tobacco (m = -0.38, SE = 0.01) consumption declined moderately. Among 13 preparations, respondents rated medicine delivery (m = 3.50, SE = 0.01), getting prescribed medicine in a hospital visit / follow-up in a community pharmacy (m = 3.37, SE = 0.01), and online shopping (m = 3.33, SE = 0.02) as the most important. The multidimensional preference analysis showed the European Region, Region of the Americas, Western Pacific Region and countries with a high-income level or medium to high COVID-19 severity were more adversely impacted on sitting and screen time duration and social activities, whereas other regions and countries experienced more cooking and eating at home. Countries with a high-income level or medium to high COVID-19 severity reported higher perceived mental burden and emotional distress. Except for low and lower-middle-income countries, medicine delivery was always prioritised. Conclusions Global increasing sitting and screen time and limiting social activities deserve as much attention as mental health. Besides, the pandemic has ushered in a notable enhancement in lifestyle of home cooking and eating, while simultaneously reducing the consumption of tobacco and alcohol. A health care system and technological infrastructure that facilitate medicine delivery, medicine prescription, and online shopping are priorities for coping with future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number06031
JournalJournal of Global Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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