The perceived impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity, health, and lifestyle among adults with physical disabilities living in Canada and the Netherlands


Background The impact of COVID-19 might differ between people with physical disabilities in Canada and the Netherlands due to differences in implemented measures and infection rates. This study aimed to describe and compare the perceived impact of the pandemic on lifestyle and health among adults with physical disabilities in Canada and the Netherlands. Methods Secondary data from two ongoing studies were used: the Canadian COVID-19 Disability Survey and the Dutch Rehabilitation, Sports and Active lifestyle (ReSpAct) 2.0 Study. Self-reported physical activity was measured using the validated questionnaires IPAQ-SF in Canada and A-SQUASH in the Netherlands. Impact of COVID-19 on mental health and lifestyle (diet, smoking, alcohol) was assessed using self-constructed questions. Descriptive and regression analyses were performed. Results Canadian participants (N=292) spent on average 145 minutes (Median=0.00, IQR=120.00) on moderate- and vigorous-intensity activities per week. Dutch participants (N=91) spent on average 1787 minutes (Median=1605.00, IQR=1470.00) on physical activities per week. In both studies, almost half of participants became less physically active since the pandemic (Canada: 47.1%, Netherlands: 42.7%). 94.7% of Canadians experienced (some) negative impact of COVID-19 on mental health, compared to 71.4% of Dutch participants. Overall, Canadians experienced generally greater negative changes in lifestyle than Dutch participants. Conclusion While the findings illustrate Canadians reported a greater negative impact of the pandemic than Dutch participants, they should be interpreted with caution due to the small and potentially selective sample. We illustrate the importance of supporting and promoting physical activity among people with physical disabilities during and after the pandemic. Word count: 249

Acknowledgments: The COVID-19 Disability Survey Group includes: Pinder DaSilva, Femke Hoekstra, Cameron Gee, Tara Joy Knibbe, Meagan O'Neill, Adrienne R. Sinden, Joan Ubeda-Colomer and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis. The ReSpAct 2.0 Group includes: Pim Brandenbarg Rienk Dekker, Florentina Hettinga, Trynke Hoekstra, Femke Hoekstra, Leonie Krops, Bregje Seves, and Lucas van der Woude