Preceding coronavirus outbreaks resulted in social isolation, which in turn is associated with cardiovascular consequences. Whether the current COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacts cardiovascular health is unclear. The aim of the rapid review was to investigate, whether COVID-19 lockdown influences modifiable cardiovascular risk factors (i.e., physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, smoking, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, obesity, bad blood lipids, and hypertension) in the general population. Medline and EMBASE were searched until March 2021. Title, abstracts, and full texts were screened by one reviewer and 20% by a second reviewer. Only studies using probability sampling were included in order to ensure the representativeness of the target population. Data extraction and critical appraisal were done by one reviewer and double-checked by another reviewer. We identified 32 studies that fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Findings show that physical activity decreased, and sedentary behaviour increased among all age groups during the COVID-19 lockdown. Among adults, alcohol consumption increased, dietary quality worsened, and the amount of food intake increased. Some adults reported weight gain. Studies on children and adolescents were sparse. This rapid review found a high number of epidemiological studies on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on modifiable cardiovascular risk factors, but only a few used probability sampling methods.
Keywords: COVID-19; cardiovascular; health behaviours; lockdown; quarantine; rapid review; social isolation.