• A study by teams from the Toulouse University Hospital shows that the spring 2020 confinement had an impact on physiological and physical health more than a year later.

  • Of the 534 people over the age of 50 surveyed, 65% said they had reduced their activity, 27% gained weight and 12% increased their medication intake.

  • They are also 35% to have reported symptoms of depression or anxiety, aggravating risk factors for long-term cardiovascular problems.

The eight-week confinement in the spring of 2020 risks leaving traces on the health of the French long after the return to an almost normal life.

Between March 17 and May 11, 2020, some of them changed their lifestyle due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While some of them took the opportunity to cook and play sports during their daily outing hours, others did the opposite.

With significant effects on their long-term health.*

More sedentary

This is demonstrated by a study by the Toulouse University Hospital conducted on 534 people aged 50 to 89, the results of which have just been published in the scientific journal 

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


It points to the psychological and physiological consequences of this unprecedented period.

A domino effect which was analyzed at one month, six months and one year.

Thus, 65% of the participants declared having reduced their physical activity, 61% having eaten more fat and sugar, but also having drunk alcohol in large quantities, with the consequences for 27% of them of having taken more than 2 kg.

Factors aggravating cardiovascular risks, such as tobacco consumption, which rose by 9% among study participants.

“This two-month confinement has a real resonance at one year.

This increase in smoking, even modest, we did not need to increase cardiovascular risks.

Just like the decline in physical activity, often with people who do not want to resume.

They do more screens, more telework, are more sedentary, ”says Professor Jean Ferrières, cardiologist at the Toulouse University Hospital, specialist in risk prevention, and co-author of the study which showed that the consumption of drugs, including hypertensives, had also increased by 12%.

Women and rural people most affected

To carry it out, its teams worked with the Federation of Cardiology, but also the epidemiology department of the CHU and Inserm.

They not only looked at the physical consequences, but also at the causes.

We already knew that confinement had a significant psychological impact on the mental health of both adults and children.

Among those over 50 surveyed, 35% reported signs of depression and 35% symptoms of anxiety.

And with the consequence, an increase in cabin syndrome among people, who tend to stay confined to their homes.

“But we know that these are risk factors that have an impact on infarction at ten years.

The study shows that women were three times more likely to experience depression and those living in rural areas were nearly twice as likely.

For anxiety, we find three times more risk in people who continued to work during the period while remaining in contact with the public, such as cashiers, nurses, garbage collectors.

They had to bear the emotional load, ”notes Jean Ferrières.

So many psychological consequences that may eventually have an impact on the physical health of these people: anxiety and the constraints of life are indeed the cause of high blood pressure.

As much data as the cardiologist hopes to see taken into account if the question of a new confinement arises.

“There are people who couldn't bury their parents, children who were told that we shouldn't touch each other, with what that can imply in terms of social phobia.

There are students who have had distance learning courses for a year, who have found themselves without prospects.

These are things to take into account, ”concludes the cardiologist.


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  • Cardiovascular illnesses

  • Stress

  • study

  • Coronavirus

  • Covid-19

  • Confinement

  • Toulouse

  • Health

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