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BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 1487, 2021 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477373


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to impose strict hygiene and national lockdown measures, which in turn has changed the dietary and lifestyle habits of the world's population. Thus, the aim of this study is to evaluate whether dietary and physical activity behaviors of Saudi Arabia's adult population changed during the COVID-19 quarantine. METHODS: An electronic questionnaire which assessed changes in body weight, dietary habits, and physical activity of Saudi Arabia's adult population (n = 2255) during the COVID-19 quarantine was distributed on social media between June and July 2020. To test the differences between changes in dietary and physical activity behaviors in relation to changes in body weight a Chi-square test was used. RESULTS: Over 40 and 45% of participants reported eating and snacking more, respectively, which led to weight gain in around 28%. Most participants reported that they consumed home-cooked (73%) and healthy meals (47%), while only 7% reported that they consumed foods from restaurants. Feelings of boredom and emptiness (44%) and the availability of time for preparing meals (40%) were the main reasons for changing dietary habits. Honey (43%) and vitamin C (50%) were the most consumed immune-boosting food and dietary supplement, respectively. COVID-19 also had a negative impact on physical activity, lowering the practice in 52% subjects, which was associated with significant weight gain (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Assessing the changes to the population's dietary habits and physical activity during the lockdown will help predict the outcome of the population's future health and wellbeing after the pandemic.

COVID-19 , Quarantine , Adult , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Exercise , Feeding Behavior , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires