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Proposed Relationship between Physical Activity and COVID-19 Mortality


Introduction: As the United States continues through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand the preventable behavioral factors related to COVID-19 mortality. This ecological study investigates the relationship between physical activity and COVID-19 mortality in the United States from 2020-2021. Methods: Data on physical activity, chronic diseases, vaccination, gross domestic product (GDP), voting results in the 2020 election, age, and COVID-19 mortality were collected from multiple datasets provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from internet sources. Statistical analysis was run to test the association between states with high and low proportion of each predictor variable and to test the level of correlation between all variables. Results: States with higher levels of physical activity were found to be positively associated with vaccination levels and negatively associated with COVID-19 mortality, diabetes, and COPD. Similarly, physical activity, diabetes, COPD, and vaccination levels were all found to be moderately correlated with COVID-19 mortality in 2021 rather than 2020, which showed weaker correlation. Discussion: The relationship found between physical activity, diabetes, COPD, vaccination levels, and COVID-19 mortality suggests the importance of emphasizing physical activity as a behavioral factor to improve overall health. Furthermore, the association between these variables and how states voted in the 2020 election indicates the significance of policy and political environment in relation to health outcomes.

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