Does the use of step counting devices affect the level of physical activity and body mass index of the youth studying in Lublin during COVID-19 pandemic?

Original Article, Pol J Public Health 2021;131: 11-15

Barbara Nieradko-Iwanicka1*, Justyna Piechnik2, Aleksandra Jaremek2,
Aleksandra Juszczak2

1 Chair and Department of Hygiene, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Students’ Scientific Association at the Chair and Department of Hygiene, Medical University of Lublin, Poland


DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2021-0003

© 2021 Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Abstract

Introduction. Due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) many people give up exercises. International physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes at high intensity per week. Healthy adults should take 10,000 steps per day. Wearable devices (smartwatches, step counters, physical activity monitoring applications) have the potential to promote a healthy lifestyle at the time of COVID-19 pandemic. They are accepted by the youth.

Aim. The aim of the study was to find out if using step counting devices affects the level of physical activity and body mass index (BMI) in students.

Material and methods. A total of 303 participants (227 women, 76 men) studying in Lublin, Poland of mean age 19.5 years participated in the study conducted with use of an internet questionnaire.

Results. Before the COVID-19 pandemic their mean BMI was 22.17 kg/m2 and after 9 months of COVID-19–related restrictions it was 22.57 kg/m2. Among the respondents 204 (67.3%) did a physical activity for 50 min 3 times a week in 2019 and 99 (32.7%) did not. In December 2020 there was a significant decrease in the number of students doing physical activity to 128 (42.2%) (p<0.05) and an increase in the number of students who did not do any physical activity to 175 (57.8%) (p<0.05). In 2019 as many as 110 (36.3%) of the respondents used to use step counting devices and 192 (63.7%) did not. In 2020 the number of students using activity tracking devices significantly decreased to 58 (19.2) (p<0.05). The number of students who did not use any step counting device in 2020 was 245 (80.8%).

Conclusion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the number of students who don’t do enough physical activity significantly increased. The use of step counting devices helps students in continuing physical activity despite COVID-19-related restrictions.


Keywords: step counting devices, physical activity, body mass index, students, COVID-19 pandemic.

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