How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the lifestyle of healthcare workers? The aim of the study is to compare the changes in lifestyle practices of staff in National Healthcare Group Polyclinics between two time points: 2019 (pre-covid) and 2021.
Responses from the annual Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) survey in 2019 (n = 535) and 2021 (n = 422) were analysed for this study. The survey was conducted online using a self-administered questionnaire. Questions were related to the intake of dietary fat and fibre, as well as frequency of physical activity.
Fat intake score has generally increased in 2021 (x? = 28.5,IQR = 8) compared to 2019 (x? = 24,IQR = 7). The proportion of staff with low fat intake reduced from 50% (2019) to 25% (2021). However, among low fat intake group, the proportion of staff who ‘removed all of the fat’ when consuming meat has increased from 2% (2019) to 67% (2021). The proportion of staff participating in at least 1 day of physical activity per week has decreased. Participation decreased by 13% in vigorous intensity and 12% in moderate intensity exercise. 24% (2021) of staff did not participate in any exercise at all, compared to 14% (2019).
Healthy lifestyle practices among staff has deteriorated during Covid-19 pandemic. The strain of Covid-19 on healthcare systems, coupled with the Covid-19 restrictions may have increased the barriers to exercise and encouraged the consumption of high fat food. In the new normal, innovative WHP programs are required to circumvent the restrictions.