Physical Activity Levels and Barriers of Public Health Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the coronavirus infection a pandemic (WHO, 2020). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes COVID-19 as a new disease caused by a virus that had not been previously identified in humans (2021). COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (CDC, 2021). The virus spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes (WHO, 2021). With the outbreak occurring, countries entered lockdown, and stay-at-home orders were implemented. Schools and businesses were shut down, and public activities were suspended. To reduce the spread of the virus, people were encouraged to stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines. Mandating that people should stay at home with discontinued daily activities may inadvertently decrease physical activity and inflict negative health consequences (Jakobsson, Malm, Furberg, Ekelund, & Svensson, 2020). The purpose of this study was to explore the physical activity levels and barriers of public health employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a cross-sectional study; 94 participants from local public health agencies were recruited for this study. Participants completed a self-administered online survey with questions assessing their demographics, physical activity levels, and stages of change. A Chi-Square test was performed, and no significant differences were found among male and female public health employees, public health employees of different race/ethnicities, and the stages of change for physical activity among gender. Further study should expand and focus on other populations to compare.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health