The survey – aimed at people aged 18 and over – launched this week, asks questions about mental wellbeing, eating behaviours, child feeding practices, physical activity and sleep.
The results will be used to assess the unique impact of the pandemic on UK lifestyles and identify what factors are significant in predicting ill effects, and which appear to have a more protective role – such as engaging in more physical activity, not working as many hours and eating and sleeping better.
Dr Gemma Witcomb, lead researcher on the project, said: “The aim is to track how a number of lifestyle factors are affected over the course of the pandemic, at the start, during the middle period and then afterwards.
“Never before in the UK have such circumstances occurred whereby people are experiencing such pressures on wellbeing and constraints on behaviour.
“Therefore, how people cope, and what the effects on health and wellbeing will be, is unknown.”
The study is being undertaken by a group from the School of Sport and Exercise Health Sciences (SSEHS).
They include Dr Emma Haycraft, Dr Carolyn Plateau, Dr Clare Holley, Dr Hannah White and Dr Iuliana Hartescu.
PhD student Chris McLeod said the project would give the team an opportunity to learn more about health and wellbeing in exceptional circumstances, such as prolonged period of isolation and changes in exercise routines.
He said: “The survey will provide unique insight into how people’s health and wellbeing is affected by the interplay of factors that, under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to induce.
“The factors include changes in food availability, restrictions on movement, psychological stress
“Hopefully, we will be able to identify those groups most at risk of prolonged poor wellbeing after the pandemic has passed to be identified and provide evidence to underpin calls for appropriate support.”
The at-risk groups include those who live alone, those with eating, sleeping and exercise disorders and the elderly.
Dr Witcomb added, “The study will highlight what areas of healthcare may require more intervention development and support going forward, which is important to know so that services can potentially prepare.
“Crucially, it will allow for an evaluation of some of the new ways that people may be engaging in physical activity, for example online, that may have positive implications for health and behaviour change strategies.”
To take part in the survey, please follow this link: www.tinyurl.com/LboroCOVID-19