Study of Work, Lifestyle Changes Caused by COVID-19 May Help Shape Public Health Policies

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Released: Monday, April 20, 2020

A new study will examine how COVID-19 is affecting the health behaviors of people worldwide, and the research could help influence local and national public health policies.

Part of the study is a 15-minute online survey that includes questions about how COVID-19 has affected participants’ physical activity, diet, sleep and well-being.  With enough responses from individual cities in Louisiana, such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans, or even globally, such as New York or London, – researchers could share hyper-local data with residents and policymakers.  The data can then be used to inform health policies and practices in those communities.

“The idea for the study was really simple,” said Leanne Redman, PhD, Professor and Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.  “As we have all become confined to our homes and neighborhoods under stay-at-home orders, our emails and social media accounts have been flooded with suggestions on how to maintain our normal habits or engage in new behaviors.

“We need to understand these societal shifts as quickly as possible and couldn’t find another institution doing this work. The research plays into our data-mining strengths, and we stepped into the gap.”

The pandemic suddenly and drastically altered everything from how people work and attend school to managing stress and the time they spend looking at television, computer and smartphone screens, Dr. Redman said.  Researchers hope to learn how those changes can be used to improve our overall health.

The study is designed to reach people all around the country and the globe. 

“We have used our social media accounts – FaceBook, Twitter, Instagam and the NextDoor app – to share the survey link with family, friends and colleagues,” she said.  “In the first week, the survey drew more than 3,000 responses.  We hope it will reach thousands more.”

To take the survey, go to



About LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center

LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The center conducts basic, clinical and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.