Changes in Sitting Time, Screen Exposure and Physical Activity during COVID-19 Lockdown in South American Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study

Kabir P. Sadarangani, Gabriela F. De Roia, Pablo Lobo, Robinson Chavez, Jacob Meyer, Carlos Cristi-Montero, David Martinez-Gomez, Gerson Ferrari, Felipe B. Schuch, Alejandro Gil-Salmerón, Marco Solmi, Nicola Veronese, Hosam Alzahrani, Igor Grabovac, Cristina M. Caperchione, Mark A. Tully, Lee Smith

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The worldwide prevalence of insufficient physical activity (PA) and prolonged sedentary behavior (SB) were high before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Measures that were taken by governments (such as home confinement) to control the spread of COVID-19 may have affected levels of PA and SB. This cross-sectional study among South American adults during the first months of COVID-19 aims to (i) compare sitting time (ST), screen exposure, moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA), and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) before and during lockdown to sociodemographic correlates and (ii) to assess the impact of lockdown on combinations of groups reporting meeting/not-meeting PA recommendations and engaging/not-engaging excessive ST (≥7 h/day). Bivariate associations, effect sizes, and multivariable linear regressions were used. Adults from Argentina (n = 575) and Chile (n = 730) completed an online survey with questions regarding demographics, lifestyle factors, and chronic diseases. Mean reductions of 42.7 and 22.0 min./day were shown in MPA and VPA, respectively; while increases of 212.4 and 164.3 min./day were observed in screen and ST, respectively. Those who met PA recommendations and spent <7 h/day of ST experienced greatest changes, reporting greater than 3 h/day higher ST and more than 1.5 h/day lower MVPA. Findings from the present study suggest that efforts to promote PA to South American adults during and after COVID-19 restrictions are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5239
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors gratefully acknowledge those who participated in this study. HA acknowledges Taif University Researchers Supporting Project number (TURSP-2020/238), Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • exercise
  • sedentary behavior
  • screen time
  • public health
  • health behavior
  • Screen time
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Exercise
  • Health behavior
  • Public health
  • Argentina
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Sitting Position
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Adult
  • Chile


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