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Table 3 Descriptive characteristics of participants with long COVID by specific long COVID symptom, weighted (N = 293)

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

  Difficulty with mobility
N = 159
Difficulty with cognition
N = 199
Difficulty with self-care
N = 45
Prop. Prop. Prop.
Long COVID variables
 Long COVID status    
  Yes, but not formally diagnosed 73.42% 76.61% 62.14%
  Yes, formally diagnosed 26.58% 23.39% 37.86%
 Presence of specific long COVID symptoms    
  Mobility (e.g., walking or climbing steps) 58.81% 100.00%
  Cognition (e.g., remembering or concentrating) 66.33% 84.85%
  Self-care (e.g., washing all over or dressing) 28.49% 21.44%
Weekly health behaviours in month prior to COVID-19 infection
 Exercise frequency (ref no exercise)    
   < 30 min to 2 hours 65.22% 64.15% 66.67%
  3h hours 20.29% 24.83% 10.37%
  Days of fresh air (>  15 minutes) 4.89 (2.54) 5.19 (2.41) 4.38 (2.31)
 Sleep quality (ref very good/good)    
  Average 40.71% 41.26% 28.36%
  Not good/very poor 46.33% 49.04% 62.21%
  Smoking (ref non-smoker) 8.41% 13.26% 13.43%
  More than 14 weekly alcoholic drinks (ref = <  14) 8.84% 7.44% 8.36%
  Number of mental health care behaviours (range 0–9) 0.85 (1.26) 0.80 (1.11) 0.93 (1.12)
COVID-19 infection variables
 COVID-19 infection severity in first 2 weeks (ref asymptomatic)    
  Mild 18.12% 16.68% 3.96%
  Moderate 65.58% 71.58% 74.85%
  Severe 11.83% 8.53% 13.99%
 Dominant strain in the UK at time of COVID-19 infection (ref original variant)    
  Alpha (1 November 2020 to 30 June 2021) 47.39% 51.48% 39.89%
  Delta (1 July to 30 November 2021) 35.03% 37.98% 40.67%
  Omicron (1 December 2021-) 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Socio-demographics
 Female (ref male) 39.48% 51.61% 46.72%
 Age (ref 60+)    
  45–59 31.89% 36.73% 32.44%
  30–44 12.36% 22.66% 3.45%
  18–29 1.21% 0.62% 0.00%
 Ethnic minority groups (ref White) 4.91% 14.75% 8.97%
 Education (ref degree or higher)    
  A-levels or vocational 26.03% 26.08% 30.11%
  Up to GCSE 51.14% 50.58% 50.34%
  Low household income (<£30,000) 63.72% 47.78% 75.89%
  Employed (ref not employed) 50.71% 66.19% 27.54%
  Key worker 16.03% 27.71% 11.80%
  Crowded household 13.65% 15.32% 14.30%
  Living arrangement (ref alone) With others, not with children 52.90% 49.62% 50.55%
  With others, including children 24.68% 33.01% 26.26%
  Live in a rural area (ref urban) 23.19% 23.12% 24.38%
Pre-existing conditions
  Long-term physical health condition (ref none) 66.34% 57.66% 82.25%
  Long-term mental health condition (ref none) 16.80% 18.78% 21.89%
  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