Inequalities in Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Report on 4 Consecutive Population-Based Surveys in Southern Brazil.
BACKGROUND: This study aims to investigate inequalities in leisure-time physical activity (PA) practice amid the COVID-19 pandemic in a southern Brazilian city. METHODS: Four repeated population-based surveys were carried out. PA was collected using a questionnaire proposed by the authors and an adapted version of the leisure-time section of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The sociodemographic variables were sex, age, skin color, and education level. The participants also answered questions regarding social distancing measures compliance. Descriptive analyses based on proportions and their respective P values for categorical variables were presented. The chi-square test for heterogeneity and linear trend was used. RESULTS: The sample is composed of 1556 individuals (66.1% female). Overall, between rounds 1 and 2, PA prevalence declined, followed by a gradual increase thereafter. PA practice during the pandemic was higher among men, individuals with higher education level, and individuals with white skin color in all rounds. In rounds 2, 3, and 4, PA was lower among individuals who were practicing more social distancing. CONCLUSION: To tackle the PA inequalities, policymakers and stakeholders need to confront disparities, defending greater availability of public policies that are attentive to inequalities, especially regarding gender, skin color, and educational level, to promote PA as a human right.