Physical health of university students increasingly at risk due to Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on university students as they struggle to manage their mental health and weight.
Many students avoid going out and staying active due to low motivation, fear of getting ill and risking isolation — and are also eating more unhealthy foods as a way of coping with anxiety and to alleviate boredom.
Physical activity is strongly linked to the development of many conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which could lead to a longer-term erosion of people’s physical health, further affecting their ability to lead fulfilling lives.
“The anxiety and fear of catching the virus has been stopping me from going out and doing exercise, or going to the gym, which has profoundly affected my mental health as I’ve gained some weight,” said Nathon Coe, 20, a University of Portsmouth student.
A study conducted by the University of Southampton found that young adults reported the most negative changes in exercise intentions and behaviours during Covid-19 restrictions, and this was linked to poorer mental health.
The researchers are attempting to understand the impact of restrictions on people’s physical activity, so that better support is provided for them in achieving and maintaining optimal health.