Impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the health status and behaviors of adults in korea: national cross-sectional web-based self-report survey

Eun Kyo Kang, Hyejin Lee, Jee Hoon Sohn, Jieun Yun, Jin Yong Lee, Yun Chul Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has radically shifted living practices, thereby influencing changes in the health status and behaviors of every person. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the self-reported health status and health behaviors along with any associated factors in adults in the Republic of Korea wherein no stringent lockdown measures were implemented during the pandemic. Methods: We conducted a web-based self-reported survey from November 2020 to December 2020. The study participants (N=2097) were identified through quota sampling by age, sex, and geographical regions among residents aged 19 years or older in Korea. The survey collected information on basic demographics, changes in self-reported health status, and health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-reported health status and health behaviors were categorized into 3 groups: Unchanged, improved, or worsened. A chi-square test and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results: With regard to changes in the self-reported health status, the majority (1478/2097, 70.5%) of the participants reported that their health was unchanged, while 20% (420/2097) of the participants reported having worser health after the COVID-19 outbreak. With regard to changes in health behaviors, the proportion of participants who increased tobacco consumption was similar to that of those who decreased tobacco consumption (110/545, 20.2% vs 106/545, 19.5%, respectively), while the proportion of those who decreased their drinking frequency was more than twice as many as those who increased their drinking frequency (578/1603, 36.1% vs 270/1603, 16.8%, respectively). Further, those who decreased their exercising frequency were more than those who increased their exercising frequency (333/823, 15.9% vs 211/823, 10%, respectively). The factor that had the greatest influence on lifestyle was age. In the subgroup analysis, the group aged 20-29 years had the highest number of individuals with both a worsened (100/377, 26.5%) and an improved (218/377, 15.7%) health status. Further, individuals aged 20-29 years had greater odds of increased smoking (6.44, 95% CI 2.15-19.32), increased alcohol use (4.64, 95% CI 2.60-8.28), and decreased moderate or higher intensity aerobic exercise (3.39, 95% CI 1.82-6.33) compared to individuals aged 60 years and older. Younger adults showed deteriorated health behaviors, while older adults showed improved health behaviors. Conclusions: The health status and the behavior of the majority of the Koreans were not found to be heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, in some cases, changes in health status or health behavior were identified. This study highlighted that some groups were overwhelmingly affected by COVID-19 compared to others. Certain groups reported experiencing both worsening and improving health, while other groups reported unchanged health status. Age was the most influential factor for behavior change; in particular, the younger generation's negative health behaviors need more attention in terms of public health. As COVID-19 prolongs, public health interventions for vulnerable groups may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31635
JournalJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemiology
  • Health behavior
  • Health interventions
  • Health status
  • Lockdown
  • Pandemic
  • Public health
  • Self-reported online survey
  • Sociodemographic factors


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the health status and behaviors of adults in korea: national cross-sectional web-based self-report survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this