The UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and changes in diet, physical activity and sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from eight longitudinal studies
Michael J Green,
Giorgio Di Gessa,
Gareth J Griffith,
Anna J Stevenson,
Richard J Silverwood,
Alun D Hughes,
Laura D Howe,
Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi,
George B Ploubidis
Posted 08 Jun 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.08.21258531
Posted 08 Jun 2021
Background: In March 2020 the UK implemented the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) to minimize job losses. Our aim was to investigate associations between furlough and diet, physical activity, and sleep during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We analysed data from 25,092 participants aged 16 to 66 years from eight UK longitudinal studies. Changes in employment (including being furloughed) were defined by comparing employment status pre- and during the first lockdown. Health behaviours included fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and sleeping patterns. Study-specific estimates obtained using modified Poisson regression, adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and pre-pandemic health and health behaviours, were statistically pooled using random effects meta-analysis. Associations were also stratified by sex, age, and education. Results: Across studies, between 8 and 25% of participants were furloughed. Compared to those who remained working, furloughed workers were slightly less likely to be physically inactive (RR:0.85, [0.75-0.97], I2=59%) and did not differ in diet and sleep behaviours, although findings for sleep were heterogenous (I2=85%). In stratified analyses, furlough was associated with low fruit and vegetable consumption among males (RR=1.11; 95%CI: 1.01-1.22; I2: 0%) but not females (RR=0.84; 95%CI: 0.68-1.04; I2: 65%). Considering change in these health behaviours, furloughed workers were more likely than those who remained working to report increased fruit and vegetable consumption, exercise, and hours of sleep. Conclusions: Those furloughed exhibited broadly similar levels of health behaviours to those who remained in employment during the initial stages of the pandemic. There was little evidence to suggest that such social protection policies if used in the post-pandemic recovery period and during future economic crises would have adverse impacts on population health behaviours.
- Downloaded 379 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 89,049
- In epidemiology: 3,801
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 19,322
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 13,894
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!