The authors of this article examine whether social and behavioral risk factors were associated with mortality related to COVID-19 among US veterans. Specific risk factors examined in the study include housing problems, financial hardship, and tobacco, alcohol, and substance use. Data were retrieved from the VA Corporate Warehouse. The primary method of data analysis was multivariable logistic regression models. The sample consisted of 27,640 veterans. The results indicated that of the social and behavioral risk factors, housing problems (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.96; 95% CI, 0.77-1.19; P = .70), financial hardship (AOR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.97-1.31; P = .11), current tobacco use (AOR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.68-1.06; P = .14), alcohol use (AOR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-1.01; P = .06), and substance use (AOR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.71-1.15; P = .41) were not associated with mortality. Factors such as older age (AOR, 75-79 years: 16.04; 95% CI, 11.24-22.91; P < .001), Asian (AOR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.06-3.86; P = .03) and American Indian or Alaska Native (AOR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.45-4.02; P = .001) races, and diabetes (AOR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.22-1.60; P < .001) were statistically significantly associated with COVID-19 mortality. Housing problems and substance use were higher in certain racial groups: Black (1583 [16.2%] and 1482 [15.2%]) and American Indian or Alaska Native (46 [16.3%] and 50 [17.7%].
This article discusses changes in health behaviors related to weight gain during the pandemic. The article also examines if specific health behaviors such as consumption of fruits and vegetables, processed food intake, caloric intake, physical activity, and sleep quality differ by weight status (healthy weight, overweight, obese). The cross-sectional study was conducted between June – August 2020 and included 502 participants that were 18 or older. Of the participants, 45.2% (n=227) were healthy weight, 28.5% (n=143) were overweight, and 26.3% (n=132) were classified as obese. The results of logistic regression analyses showed that those who were obese were significantly more likely to report substantial changes to health behaviors compared to those who were classified as healthy weight. These behaviors include (1) decreased fruit and vegetable consumption [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.92; 95% confidence interval (CI): (1.13, 3.26)]; (2) increased processed food consumption [AOR = 1.85; 95%CI: (1.15, 3.00)]; (3) increased caloric intake [AOR = 1.66; 95% CI: (1.06, 2.61)]; (4) decreased physical activity [AOR = 2.07; 95%CI: (1.31, 3.28)]; and (5) poor sleep quality [AOR = 2.07; 95%CI: (1.32, 3.25)]. Those who are obese are already at high risk of complications from infection and during times of crises, the risk may be further exacerbated due to unhealthy behaviors.