The response to the COVID-19 pandemic: With hindsight what lessons can we learn?

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2023 Jan-Feb:76:76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2022.11.019. Epub 2022 Dec 6.


The purpose of this paper is to put forward some evidence-based lessons that can be learned from how to respond to a Pandemic that relate to healthy living behaviours (HLB). A 4-step methodology was followed to conduct a narrative review of the literature and to present a professional practice vignette. The narrative review identified 8 lessons: 1) peer review; 2) historical perspectives; 3) investing in resilience and protection; 4) unintended consequences; 5) protecting physical activity; 6) school closures; 7) mental health; and 8) obesity. As in all probability there will be another Pandemic, it is important that the lessons learned over the last three years in relation to HLB are acted upon. Whilst there will not always be a consensus on what to emphasise, it is important that many evidence-based positions are presented. The authors of this paper recognise that this work is a starting point and that the lessons presented here will need to be revisited as new evidence becomes available.

Keywords: Obesity; Physical activity; School-based interventions; Social distancing; Unhealthy lifestyle; Wellbeing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Obesity
  • Pandemics / prevention & control