Healthy lifestyle may cut long COVID-19 risk for some women

Adherence to healthy lifestyle habits including proper sleep and maintaining a healthy body weight prior to COVID-19 infection reduces the chance of developing long COVID-19, a study of nearly 2,000 women revealed.

Low to moderate alcohol intake, not smoking and exercise were also found to positively correlate to habits that stave off long COVID-19.

However, the researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston point out that the study was primarily conducted using data from white women who are middle-aged, of higher socioeconomic status than average and in the nursing profession. The study also used body mass index as a determinant factor of weight health — a factor that other physicians have criticized as "overly simplistic" and at times "harmful" to understanding the health of patients because it does not distinguish between excessive weight and fat.

Limitations aside, among the women in the study who did develop long COVID-19, "all COVID-19 symptoms were less prevalent in participants with higher healthy lifestyle scores, except for smell or taste problems and headaches," researchers wrote. 

They also pointed out that further investigation should expand to other populations and also examine whether "implementing lifestyle interventions decreases risk of PCC or benefits persons with PCC or other chronic postinfection syndromes."


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