The study is the first to look at Covid-19 risk level with both socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors.
A recent study led by the University of Glasgow has found that unhealthy lifestyles correlate with increased risk of severe Covid-19, with risks even higher among those low on the socioeconomic ladder. The study is the first of its kind which looks at both socioeconomic factors and lifestyle factors in relation to Covid-19 risk.
707 (0.21%) of the 343,850 people in the study died of Covid-19 and 2,506 (0.76%) experienced severe symptoms. The research illustrated that a large proportion of those with the least healthy lifestyle scores died from Covid-19 and had far more severe symptoms than those with high healthy lifestyle scores. In addition to this, they found that a larger proportion of those considered economically disadvantaged died from Covid-19 and had more extreme symptoms.
Professor of Primary Care Research and Development Kate O’Donnell said: ”To reduce Covid-19 harms in these vulnerable demographics it is important that political policy and healthy living support are optimised for the people and most disadvantaged groups who need it most.”
For socioeconomic status, the study considered area-level deprivation, annual household income and maximum education attainment. For lifestyle, the researchers considered nine variables: alcohol intake; smoking status; television viewing time; sleep duration; fruit and vegetable intake; oily fish intake; physical activity, and red and processed meat intake. Smoking, high alcohol consumption and low physical activity were variables largely exclusive to those ranked low socioeconomically.
The study concluded the need for government policy to consider both lifestyle and socioeconomic status, as ultimately high deprivation facilitates such a virus to attack due to the consequences of health inequality.