New app questions: Lifestyle and diabetes

June 19, 2020

The latest update of the COVID Symptom Study app has been updated to include two new sets of questions to help advance our understanding of COVID-19.

Diet and lifestyle factors

The first group of new questions aim to help us better understand whether COVID may be impacting lifestyle factors including weight, nutrition and exercise, whether any changes in these areas are impacting our health, and how significant these effects are. All of these questions are all optional.

We will ask how the following factors have changed since March (when COVID became more prevalent in the UK):

  • Weight
  • Overall diet
  • Snacking habits
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Physical activity levels

Diabetes

The second group of questions will appear in the app for anyone who previously indicated that they have diabetes, which we know is an important risk factor for COVID. Our scientists have a couple of follow up questions to understand more about this.

These questions will include:

  • What type of diabetes you have
  • Your most recent HbA1c results
  • What year you were diagnosed with diabetes
  • What diabetes treatment(s) you use

Why are we asking these new questions?

The three key research areas that we want to better understand includes:

  1. Understanding whether diet quality has an impact on COVID-19 as well as the severity of COVID-19
  2. The wider impact of lockdown on health
  3. The impact of COVID-19 on appetite

Data suggests that nutrition and metabolic health may have a big impact on who most at risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest known risk factors for developing severe forms of COVID-19. Our data, along with findings from other research groups, also suggests that people who are very overweight are also at greater risk of hospitalisation due to COVID-19, even if they are young.

We want to  better understand how our metabolism and glucose responses, which are linked to both obesity and diabetes, might affect the risk of COVID infection and severity so that we can learn how to reduce these risks in future.

One way to help reduce these risks may be through dietary interventions. Although we plan to do a more rigorous study in future, and are working with scientists around the world to design these questions, right now we want to ask these fairly simple questions to gain a better understanding of how the pandemic is impacting people's health.

Can you help us spread the word?

Download the COVID Symptom app from covid.joinzoe.com and log your health daily to aid this important research. ‍Please also share this app with friends and family to help us better understand the impact of COVID-19, help to improve health advice, and ensure that resources are directed to where they are needed most.‍

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