Regional Difference in the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Domain-Specific Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Sleeping Time, and Step Count: Web-Based Cross-sectional Nationwide Survey and Accelerometer-Based Observational Study

Yosuke Yamada, Hideyuki Namba, Heiwa Date, Shinobu Kitayama, Yui Nakayama, Misaka Kimura, Hiroyuki Fujita, Motohiko Miyachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictive environments, such as social distancing and lockdown measures. However, regional differences in the changes in domain-specific PA and SB in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are not clearly understood. Objective: This study aimed to examine regional differences in domain-specific PA and SB, as well as sleeping time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional nationwide survey and an accelerometer-based longitudinal observation were conducted. In the web-based survey, we recruited 150 Japanese men and 150 Japanese women for each of the following age groups: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s (n=1800). A total of 1627 adults provided valid responses to web-based surveillance from June to July 2020. Participants were recruited from urban (Greater Tokyo Area, n=1028), urban-rural (regional core cities, n=459), or rural (regional small and medium cities, n=140) areas. They answered sociodemographic and health-related questions and retrospectively registered the PA data of their average day before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in a web-based PA record system. In the accelerometer-based observation, PA and step count data were obtained using a triaxial accelerometer on people living in urban (n=370) and rural (n=308) areas. Results: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no significant differences between these 3 regions in the time spent sleeping, staying at home, working or studying, and exercising (P>.05). By contrast, people living in urban areas had a longer duration of SB and transportation and a shorter duration of moderate-to-vigorous PA and lying or napping time compared with people living in rural areas (P>.05). During the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant decrease was observed in transportation time in urban (–7.2 min/day, P<.001) and urban-rural (–2.0 min/day, P=.009) areas but not in rural (–0.4 min/day, P=.52) areas. The moderate-to-vigorous PA was decreased in urban (–31.3 min/day, P<.001) and urban-rural (–30.0 min/day, P<.001) areas but not in rural areas (–17.3 min/day, P=.08). A significant increase was observed in time spent sleeping in urban (+22.4 min/day, P<.001) and urban-rural (+24.2 min/day, P<.001) but not in rural areas (+3.9 min/day, P=.74). Lying or napping was increased in urban (+14.9 min/day, P<.001) but not in rural areas (−6.9 min/day, P=.68). PA and step count obtained using an accelerometer significantly decreased in urban (P<.05) but not in rural areas (P>.05). Conclusions: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on PA and SB was significantly dependent on living area, even in a single country. The effects of PA and SB were greater in the Greater Tokyo Area and regional core cities but were not observed in regional small and medium cities in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39992
JournalJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • demographic
  • differences
  • impact
  • pandemic
  • physical activity
  • physical activity record system
  • regional
  • sedentary
  • sleep
  • sleeping pattern
  • sleeping time
  • social distancing measure
  • surveillance
  • transportation
  • web-based survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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