Changes in lifestyle habits and sociodemographic characteristics associated with these among migrant origin populations in Finland compared with the general population.
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Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare Finland
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1382
Background and Objective:
Impact of Covid-19 on lifestyles of migrant origin populations has been largely understudied despite evidence that this population group was more strongly impacted by the pandemic. This study compares the impact of Covid-19 on lifestyles of migrant origin population with the general population, and examines the sociodemographic characteristics of those reporting adverse changes.

Data from the Finnish population-based MigCOVID Survey conducted 10/2020-2/2021 among foreign-born persons aged 20-66 years (n=3668) was used, with participants in the FinHealth 2017 follow-up study (n=3490) as the reference group. Lifestyles included physical activity, snacking, and fruit and vegetable intake. Logistic regression was applied to examine the association of sociodemographic characteristics with adverse changes in lifestyles.

Physical activity decreased more frequently in migrant (39.5%, 95%CI 36.6-42.6) than general population (30.4%, 95%CI 28.1-32.8), whereas differences in adverse changes in snacking and fruit and vegetable intake were not significant. Tertiary education (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.71-4.55 for migrant; OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.67-4.08 for general population) and remote work (OR 2.22, 95%CI 1.54-3.20 for migrant; OR 1.53, 95%CI 1.05-2.25 for general population) were associated with decrease in physical activity after adjustment for other sociodemographics. Increase in snacking was more likely in higher education groups in general population only. The association of younger age with adverse lifestyles was more evident in the general population.

Covid-19 adversely impacted lifestyles particularly in sociodemographic groups that generally tend to have more favourable habits, such as those with higher education and non-manual jobs. This was observed both in migrant and general population, however it was more consistent in the latter group. This may be due to some reporting bias, but our results point out the need to identify groups with higher impact when targeting health promotion measures.

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