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Table 1 Descriptive characteristics and bivariate associations between study variables and long COVID, weighted (N = 1581)

From: Health behaviours the month prior to COVID-19 infection and the development of self-reported long COVID and specific long COVID symptoms: a longitudinal analysis of 1581 UK adults

  No self-reported long COVID
N = 1288
Self-reported long COVID
N = 293
OR 95% CI
Prop. Prop.   
Long COVID variables
 Long COVID status     
  Yes, but not formally diagnosed 81.47%
  Yes, formally diagnosed 18.53%
  Presence of specific long COVID symptoms   
  Mobility (e.g., walking or climbing steps) 55.49%
  Cognition (e.g., remembering or concentrating) 62.58%
  Self-care (e.g., washing all over or dressing) 15.81%
Weekly health behaviours in month prior to COVID-19 infection
 Exercise frequency (ref no exercise)     
   < 30 min to 2 hours 62.53% 66.66% 0.73 0.40 1.35
  3h hours 30.07% 22.55% 0.51 0.25 1.08
  Days of fresh air (>  15 minutes) 5.72 (1.99) 5.31 (2.35) 0.92 0.83 1.01
 Sleep quality (ref very good/good)      
  Average 42.80% 45.14% 2.46 1.50 4.04
  Not good/very poor 21.49% 41.09% 4.59 2.75 7.68
  Smoking (ref non-smoker) 5.72% 10.14% 1.86 0.79 4.38
  More than 14 weekly alcoholic drinks (ref = <  14) 11.44% 6.97% 0.58 0.32 1.04
  Number of mental health care behaviours (range 0–9) 0.59 (1.00) 0.74 (1.10) 1.14 0.96 1.35
COVID-19 infection variables
 COVID-19 infection severity in first 2 weeks (ref asymptomatic)      
  Mild 48.45% 23.35% 1.37 0.41 4.60
  Moderate 41.37% 65.67% 4.50 1.42 14.23
  Severe 1.32% 7.85% 16.85 4.16 68.26
 Dominant strain in the UK at time of COVID-19 infection (ref original variant)a      
  Alpha (1 November 2020 to 30 June 2021) 35.34% 47.44% 1.34 0.78 2.27
  Delta (1 July to 30 November 2021) 47.74% 35.56% 0.74 0.41 1.33
Socio-demographics
 Female (ref male) 53.00% 43.62% 0.69 0.47 1.00
 Age (ref 60+)      
  45–59 30.41% 33.26% 1.04 0.67 1.61
  30–44 20.60% 20.63% 0.95 0.54 1.68
  18–29 11.42% 6.70% 0.56 0.22 1.41
  Ethnic minority groups (ref White) 5.00% 11.46% 2.46 1.00 6.04
Education (ref degree or higher)      
  A-levels or vocational 31.93% 29.57% 1.45 0.97 2.18
  Up to GCSE 26.85% 44.09% 2.57 1.66 3.97
  Low household income (<£30,000) 39.63% 47.11% 1.36 0.91 2.02
  Employed (ref not employed) 59.32% 59.82% 1.02 0.68 1.53
  Key worker 25.18% 25.06% 0.99 0.65 1.52
  Crowded household 9.93% 17.78% 1.96 1.05 3.68
 Living arrangement (ref alone)      
  With others, not with children 55.77% 49.52% 0.89 0.53 1.50
  With others, including children 26.79% 33.06% 1.24 0.70 2.20
  Live in a rural area (ref urban) 18.77% 23.77% 1.35 0.84 2.18
Pre-existing conditions
 Long-term physical health condition (ref none) 40.11% 55.34% 1.85 1.25 2.74
 Long-term mental health condition (ref none) 13.88% 16.19% 1.20 0.75 1.91
  1. Note. Data were weighted to the proportions of gender, age, ethnicity, country, and education obtained from the Office for National Statistics. GCSE refers to General Certificate of Secondary Education. aNo infections occurred after 30 November 2021 in the study sample