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Physical Behaviours in Brazilian Office Workers Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Compared to before the Pandemic: A Compositional Data Analysis

Abstract: Work from home has increased greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns have been raised that this would change physical behaviours. In the present study, 11 Brazilian office workers (five women, six men; mean [SD] age 39.3 [9.6] years) wore two triaxial accelerometers fixed on the upper back and right thigh continuously for five days, including a weekend, before COVID-19 (September 2019), and again while working at home during COVID-19 (July 2020). We determined time used in five behaviours: sedentary, standing, light physical activity (LPA), moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA), and time-in-bed. Data on these behaviours were processed using Compositional Data Analysis, and behaviours observed pre-COVID19 and during-COVID19 were compared using repeated-measures MANOVA. On workdays during-COVID19, participants spent 667 min sedentary, 176 standing, 74 LPA, 51 MVPA and 472 time-in-bed; corresponding numbers pre-COVID were 689, 180, 81, 72 and 418 min. Tests confirmed that less time was spent in bed pre-COVID19 (log-ratio −0.12 [95% CI −0.19; −0.08]) and more time in MVPA (log-ratio 0.35, [95% CI 0.08; 0.70]). Behaviours during the weekend changed only marginally. While small, this study is the first to report objectively measured physical behaviours during workdays as well as weekends in the same subjects before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: home confinement / social isolation / physical activity / sedentary behaviour / sleep / compositional data analysis / 24-h movement behavior / office workers

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