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Lifestyle, health and quality of life of older adults after coronavirus infection: a longitudinal cohort study

Background: There is debate as to whether a coronavirus infection (SARS-CoV-2) affects older adults’ lifestyle and health. We investigated differences in physical activity, weight, sleeping problems, feelings of social isolation and quality of life (QoL) between older adults (65+) with and without a coronavirus infection over a six-month period following infection. 
Methods:  We included 6789 older adults from the Lifelines COVID-19 cohort study who provided data between April 2020 until June 2021. Older adults with and without coronavirus infection were matched on sex, age, education, living situation, body mass index, smoking status, vulnerable health, time of infection and pre-coronavirus health outcome. Weighed linear mixed models, adjusted for time variant strictness of governmental policy measures, were used to compare health outcomes after infection between groups.
Results: In total, 309 participants were tested positive for coronavirus. During follow-up, older adults with a coronavirus infection engaged in less physical activity, had more sleeping problems, weighed less, felt more socially isolated and had a lower QoL after infection, compared to those without a coronavirus infection. Differences in weight, feelings of social isolation and QoL disappeared 1-2 months after infection.  Differences in physical activity and sleeping problems still seemed to exist after 5.5 months, although 95% confidence intervals for both groups overlapped due to low numbers. 
Conclusions: Findings of this study suggest that there are negative effects of a coronavirus infection on older adults’ health. More research is needed to replicate these findings. 
Keywords: Covid-infection; lifestyle; health; older adults; longitudinal study

Year of publication





Kuijpers, T. G.
Gerkema, M. H.
Engels, G.
Schipper, M.
Herber, G. M.

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