Physical activity and the risk of covid-19 infection and mortality: A nationwide population-based case-control study

Dong Hyuk Cho, Sun Ju Lee, Sae Young Jae, Woo Joo Kim, Seong Jun Ha, Jun Gyo Gwon, Jimi Choi, Dong Wook Kim, Jang Young Kim

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Regular physical activity (PA) is known to reduce the risk of serious community-acquired infections. We examined the association of PA with the morbidity and mortality resulting from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in the South Korean population. Patients who tested positive for severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 and who underwent public health screening between 2014 and 2017 (n = 6288) were included. Age-and sex-matched controls (n = 125,772) were randomly selected from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database. Leisure-time PA was assessed using a self-reported questionnaire. The mean PA levels were lower in the patient than in the control group (558.2 ± 516.3 vs. 580.2 ± 525.7 metabolic equivalent of task (MET)-min/week, p = 0.001). Patients with moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) were associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 morbidity (odds ratio (OR), 0.90; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.86–0.95). In addition, a standard deviation (SD) increment in MET/week (525.3 MET-min/week) was associated with a 4% decrease in the risk of COVID-19 morbidity (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93–0.99). MVPA and an SD increment in MET/week were associated with lower mortality (MVPA: OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.26–0.87; per SD increment: OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.48–0.88). Higher levels of regular PA were associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality, highlighting the importance of maintaining appropriate levels of PA along with social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1539
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Mortality
  • Physical activity
  • Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2

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