In a new study from the North Carolina State University, researchers found the pandemic has created a cyclical public health problem by harming mental health while also making it more difficult for people to maintain physical activity.
They also found that lower-income households struggled more with both mental health challenges and maintaining physical activity levels.
In the study, researchers conducted an in-depth, online survey of 4,026 adults in Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, and West Virginia. The survey took place between April and September of 2020.
They found that the more physically active people were, the better their mental health status.
They also found that the higher an individual’s household income, the more likely they were to be able to maintain pre-pandemic physical activity levels.
Specifically, people in households that earned less than $50,000 per year were 1.46 times less likely to maintain their pre-pandemic levels of physical activity as compared to people in households that earned more than $50,000 per year.
In addition, the survey found that participants in urban areas were more likely to report difficulty maintaining their pre-pandemic physical activity levels, as compared to study participants in rural areas.
The open-ended survey results revealed that many participants struggled with staying active during stay-at-home orders, but rural participants talked about how their open spaces and places provided more opportunities to get outside and get moving.
Participants also talked about how caregiving, exhaustion, and mental health stressors kept them from being active, perpetuating the cycle.
The findings suggest that mental health is a persistent challenge during this pandemic.
This survey data helps understand what people were going through during those early months of the pandemic.
It also helps understand the importance of having access to open spaces and the barriers that are in place preventing people from accessing those spaces.
If you care about mental health, please read studies about this depression drug could shut down the brain if used too much and findings of this nutrient supplement may help lower depression.
For more information about mental disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about using these drugs to treat depression may cause higher death risk and results showing a leading cause of depression in older people.
The study is published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports. One author of the study is Lindsey Haynes-Maslow.
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