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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(11)2023 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20239567

ABSTRACT

Loneliness has been linked to morbidity and mortality across the lifespan. Social media could reduce loneliness, though research on the relation between social media and loneliness has been inconclusive. This study used person-centered analyses to elucidate the inconsistencies in the literature and examine the possible role technology barriers played in the relation between social media use and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants (n = 929; M age = 57.58 ± 17.33) responded to a series of online questions covering demographics, loneliness, technology barriers, and social media use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) across a range of devices (e.g., computer, smartphone, etc.). A latent profile analysis was conducted to identify distinct profiles of social media use, loneliness patterns, and age. Results yielded five distinct profiles characterized that showed no systematic associations among age, social media use, and loneliness. Demographic characteristics and technology barriers also differed between profiles and were associated with loneliness. In conclusion, person-centered analyses demonstrated distinct groups of older and younger adults that differed on social media use and loneliness and may offer more fruitful insights over variable-centered approaches (e.g., regression/correlation). Technology barriers may be a viable target for reducing loneliness in adults.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Humans , Adult , Middle Aged , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Loneliness , Pandemics , Fruit , Social Isolation
2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 24(10)2023 May 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237982

ABSTRACT

Sambucus ebulus (SE) fruits are used for immune stimulation and amelioration of gastrointestinal inflammatory conditions. Currently, there is no scientific evidence of their effects on various aspects of the immune response mechanisms in humans. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immunomodulatory potential of SE fruit infusion intake in healthy humans. Anthocyanin content was determined with UPLC-ESI-MS/MS. Fifty-three volunteers enrolled in a 4-week SE infusion intake intervention. Blood count, serum total protein, Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1ß), Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNFα), High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), C3, and C4 levels were measured on automatic analyzers, and Interleukin 8 (IL-8) was measured manually with an ELISA kit. Cyanidin-3-O-galactoside (48.15 mg/g DW), followed by cyaniding-3-sambubioside (43.41 ± 1.07 mg/g DW), were the most abundant anthocyanins in SE samples. A significant decrease in total protein (2.82%), IL-6 (20.15%), TNFα (5.38%), IL-8 (5.50%), C3 (4.16%), and C4 (14.29%) was established in the whole group. Total protein, IL-8, TNFα, and C4 decreased in women (3.11%, 4.76%, 5.09%, and 11.11%), and IL-6 decreased (40.61%) in men. Hb (1.20%) and hematocrit (1.55%) levels decreased in the whole group and in the women group (1.61% and 2.20%). SE fruits exert immune-modulatory activity as revealed by decreased pro-inflammatory status and complement activity markers in healthy volunteers after a 4-week intervention.


Subject(s)
Sambucus , Male , Humans , Female , Anthocyanins/analysis , Fruit/chemistry , Interleukin-8 , Tandem Mass Spectrometry , Interleukin-6 , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha , Inflammation
3.
Nutrients ; 15(10)2023 May 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234869

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children's lifestyles, including dietary behaviors. Of particular concern among these behaviors is the heightened prevalence of ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption, which has been linked to the development of obesity and related non-communicable diseases. The present study examines the changes in (1) UPF and (2) vegetable and/or fruit consumption among school-aged children in Greece and Sweden before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: The analyzed dataset consisted of main meal pictures (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) captured by 226 Greek students (94 before the pandemic and 132 during the pandemic) and 421 Swedish students (293 before and 128 during the pandemic), aged 9-18, who voluntarily reported their meals using a mobile application. The meal pictures were collected over four-month periods over two consecutive years; namely, between the 20th of August and the 20th of December in 2019 (before the COVID-19 outbreak) and the same period in 2020 (during the COVID-19 outbreak). The collected pictures were annotated manually by a trained nutritionist. A chi-square test was performed to evaluate the differences in proportions before versus during the pandemic. RESULTS: In total, 10,770 pictures were collected, including 6474 pictures from before the pandemic and 4296 pictures collected during the pandemic. Out of those, 86 pictures were excluded due to poor image quality, and 10,684 pictures were included in the final analyses (4267 pictures from Greece and 6417 pictures from Sweden). The proportion of UPF significantly decreased during vs. before the pandemic in both populations (50% vs. 46%, p = 0.010 in Greece, and 71% vs. 66%, p < 0.001 in Sweden), while the proportion of vegetables and/or fruits significantly increased in both cases (28% vs. 35%, p < 0.001 in Greece, and 38% vs. 42%, p = 0.019 in Sweden). There was a proportional increase in meal pictures containing UPF among boys in both countries. In Greece, both genders showed an increase in vegetables and/or fruits, whereas, in Sweden, the increase in fruit and/or vegetable consumption was solely observed among boys. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of UPF in the Greek and Swedish students' main meals decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic vs. before the pandemic, while the proportion of main meals with vegetables and/or fruits increased.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Services , Child , Humans , Male , Female , Vegetables , Fruit , Greece/epidemiology , Pandemics , Sweden/epidemiology , Food, Processed , COVID-19/epidemiology , Students , Diet , Feeding Behavior
4.
Nutrients ; 15(10)2023 May 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20241070

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted some dietary habits of Americans. OBJECTIVE: We examined characteristics associated with a high intake of sweet foods and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic among US adults. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS/SETTINGS: The SummerStyles survey data were collected in 2021 among 4034 US adults (≥18 years). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The frequencies were measured of consuming various sweet foods (chocolate/candy, doughnuts/sweet rolls/Danish/muffins/Pop-Tarts, cookies/cake/pie/brownies, and ice cream/frozen desserts) and SSB (regular sodas, sweetened coffee/tea drinks fruit drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses were categorized into 0, >0 to <1, 1 to <2, and ≥2 times/day. The descriptive variables were sociodemographics, food insecurity, weight status, metropolitan status, census regions, and eating habit changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Multinomial regressions were used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for being a high consumer of sweet foods and SSB after controlling for characteristics. RESULTS: During 2021, 15% of adults reported consuming sweet foods ≥2 times/day, and 30% reported drinking SSB ≥2 times/day. The factors that were significantly associated with greater odds of high sweet food intake (≥2 times/day) were lower household income (AOR = 1.53 for <$35,000 vs. ≥$100,000), often/sometimes experiencing food insecurity (AOR = 1.41 vs. never), and eating more sweet foods than usual since start of the pandemic (AOR = 2.47 vs. same as usual). The factors that were significantly associated with greater odds of high SSB intake (≥2 times/day) were males (AOR = 1.51), lower education (AOR = 1.98 for ≤high school; AOR = 1.33 for some college vs. college graduate), currently having children (AOR = 1.65), living in nonmetropolitan areas (AOR = 1.34), and drinking more SSB than usual since the pandemic began (AOR = 2.23 vs. same as usual). Younger age, Black race, and reductions in consumption during COVID-19 were related to lower sweet food and SSB intakes. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings, which identified high consumers of sweet foods or SSB, can be used to inform efforts to reduce consumers' added sugars intake during pandemic recovery and support their health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Energy Drinks , Sugar-Sweetened Beverages , Male , Child , Humans , Adult , United States/epidemiology , Female , Beverages , Pandemics , Cross-Sectional Studies , Nutrition Surveys , COVID-19/epidemiology , Fruit
5.
J Health Popul Nutr ; 42(1): 43, 2023 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2323463

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak of the infectious disease COVID-19 as a pandemic. The health strategies of nations lead to possible changes in lifestyle and increase poor eating habits. Hence, the purpose of this study is to compare food consumption during COVID-19 pandemic in Iran. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used secondary data from the Households Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) conducted annually by the Statistical Centre of Iran. Food cost data of HIES included the amount of all food items in household food baskets during the last month. Then, they were classified into six food groups to evaluate their energy intake. The consequence of food consumption was analyzed as a function of socioeconomic status (SES) variables and residence pre- and post-COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: In total, 75,885 households (83.5% male) were included in the study. Among the population of urban and rural areas as well as in different SES categories, people tended to increase the consumption of meat (P < 0.05) and fresh foods, especially vegetable groups (P < 0.001) and decrease the consumption of fruit (P < 0.001), fat and sweets groups (P < 0.05) and also in energy intake (P < 0.05). Macronutrient changes were different in the category of SES, urban and rural. CONCLUSION: Our study indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had different effects on food groups, energy and macronutrients consumption, which could be due to possible changes in food patterns as a result of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Male , Female , Health Expenditures , Iran/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Income , Fruit
6.
Nutrients ; 15(7)2023 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2300308

ABSTRACT

The quality and quantity of food consumption have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the consumption of different food groups in order to close the research gap by providing current evidence that reflects a later stage of the pandemic compared to other circulating research conducted at earlier stages. Data collection for this cross-sectional study was performed via an online Qualtrics survey from 10,050 adults aged 40-100 years. Nutritional status was measured using the 24-item short-form Dietary Screening Tool (DST) twice: before and since the COVID-19 pandemic. The DST questions were categorized based on MyPlate items, along with fat, sugar, and sweet items, as well as nutritional supplement intake. In addition, the total DST score was calculated for each participant, which categorized them into one of three groups: "at risk", "possible risk", and "not at risk". The results revealed that the consumption of grains, fruit, lean protein, and dairy decreased significantly, while the consumption of fat, sugar, and sweet items increased significantly due to COVID-19. The biggest decreases in consumption of food subcategories were related to whole grain bread and cereal, followed by fruit as a snack, in comparison with other types of grain and fruit. No changes in the consumption of vegetables, processed meat, or supplement intake were seen. The total DST score showed that, before and since COVID-19, the overall nutrition status of adult Americans has been at risk. In addition, of those participants who were not at risk before COVID-19, 28.5% were either at risk or at possible risk since COVID-19; moreover, of those participants who were at possible risk before COVID-19, 21% were at risk since COVID-19. As a good nutritional status can reduce the risk of severe illness or even mortality rate in times of crisis, the findings of this study can help policymakers and health educators to develop heath-protecting behavior sessions against future pandemics to manage crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Adult , United States/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Feeding Behavior , COVID-19/epidemiology , Diet , Fruit , Vegetables , Edible Grain , Sugars
7.
J Nutr Educ Behav ; 55(5): 343-353, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2299039

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: This study 1) compares grocery sales to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shoppers in rural and urban grocery stores and 2) estimates changes in sales to SNAP shoppers in North Carolina (NC) since the pandemic. DESIGN: Weekly transaction data among loyalty shoppers at a large grocery chain across NC from October 2019 to December 2020 (n = 32; 182 store weeks) to assess nutritional outcomes. SETTING: North Carolina large chain grocery stores. PARTICIPANTS: Large chain grocery store/SNAP shoppers. INTERVENTION: Rural/urban status of the stores and COVID-19 pandemic onset. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Share of total calories sold from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes (FVNL) with and without additives, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), less healthful foods (LHF), and processed meats (PM). ANALYSIS: Multivariate random effects models with robust standard errors to examine the association of rural/urban status before and since coronavirus disease 2019 with the share of calories sold to SNAP shoppers from each food category. We controlled for county-level factors (eg, sociodemographic composition, food environment) and store-level factors. RESULTS: We did not find significant rural-urban differences in the composition of sales to SNAP shoppers in adjusted models. There was a significant decrease in the mean share of total calories from sugar-sweetened beverages (-0.43%) and less healthful food (-1.32%) and an increase in the share from processed meats (0.09%) compared with before the pandemic (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Urban-rural definitions are insufficient to understand nuances in food environments, and more support is needed to ensure healthy food access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Humans , Pandemics , Supermarkets , Fruit , Vegetables , Food Supply , Commerce
8.
Molecules ; 28(7)2023 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2301298

ABSTRACT

Elderberry is highly reputed for its health-improving effects. Multiple pieces of evidence indicate that the consumption of berries is linked to enhancing human health and preventing or delaying the onset of chronic medical conditions. Compared with other fruit, elderberry is a very rich source of anthocyanins (approximately 80% of the polyphenol content). These polyphenols are the principals that essentially contribute to the high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities and the health benefits of elderberry fruit extract. These health effects include attenuation of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and inflammatory disorders, as well as anti-diabetic, anticancer, antiviral, and immuno-stimulatory effects. Sales of elderberry supplements skyrocketed to $320 million over the year 2020, according to an American Botanical Council (ABC) report, which is attributable to the purported immune-enhancing effects of elderberry. In the current review, the chemical composition of the polyphenolic content of the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and the American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), as well as the analytical techniques employed to analyze, characterize, and ascertain the chemical consistency will be addressed. Further, the factors that influence the consistency of the polyphenolic chemical composition, and hence, the consistency of the health benefits of elderberry extracts will be presented. Additionally, adulteration and safety as factors contributing to consistency will be covered. The role of elderberry in enhancing human health alone with the pharmacological basis, the cellular pathways, and the molecular mechanisms underlying the observed health benefits of elderberry fruit extracts will be also reviewed.


Subject(s)
Sambucus , Humans , Sambucus/chemistry , Anthocyanins/chemistry , Plant Extracts/chemistry , Polyphenols/chemistry , Oxidative Stress , Inflammation/drug therapy , Fruit/chemistry
9.
J Appl Microbiol ; 134(2)2023 Feb 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2241013

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Assess the persistence of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus and virus genomic material on three common food coverings. METHODS AND RESULTS: The stability of infectious virus and genomic material on plastic wrap, fruit wax, and cardboard takeout containers was measured. SARS-CoV-2 in simulated saliva was applied to the surface of these materials and allowed to dry. Samples were stored at 4°C or 20°C and a relative humidity of 30%, 50%, 65%, or 70% for up to 7 days. Viability was measured by TCID50 and the half-life for infectious virus was determined to be ~24 hours and ~8 hours at 4°C and 20°C, respectively, on all surfaces and RH tested. There was no loss of virus genomic material as measured by qRT-PCR at all conditions evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 virus remains infectious on food coverings for hours to days. It is estimated that a 99.9% reduction in titer requires 10 days at 4°C and 3 days at 20°C for all RH tested. SARS-CoV-2 genomic material showed no loss when assayed by qRT-PCR. Significance and Impact of Study: SARS-CoV-2 virus on food coverings loses infectivity over a certain period, but PCR assays can still detect virus genomic material throughout the same time. Thus, testing and controls may need to consider the fact that virus genomic material may still be detected when no infectious virus is present.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Fruit , Plastics
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(3)2023 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2243211

ABSTRACT

Controversy exists about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dietary habits, with studies demonstrating both benefits and drawbacks of this period. We analyzed Google Trends data on specific terms and arguments related to different foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, milk, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages) in order to evaluate the interest of Italian people before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Joinpoint regression models were applied to identify the possible time points at which public interest in foods changed (i.e., joinpoints). Interestingly, public interest in specific food categories underwent substantial changes during the period under examination. While some changes did not seem to be related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., legumes and red meat), public interest in fruit, vegetables, milk, and whole grains increased significantly, especially during the first lockdown. It should be noted, however, that the interest in food-related issues returned to prepandemic levels after the first lockdown period. Thus, more efforts and ad hoc designed studies should be encouraged to evaluate the duration and direction of the COVID-19 pandemic's influence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fabaceae , Humans , Diet , Pandemics , Search Engine , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Fruit , Vegetables , Feeding Behavior
11.
Nutrients ; 15(2)2023 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2200566

ABSTRACT

To understand the susceptibility to nutrition-health misinformation related to preventing, treating, or mitigating the risk of COVID-19 during the initial lockdowns around the world, the present international web-based survey study (15 April-15 May 2020) gauged participants' (n = 3707) level of nutrition-health misinformation discernment by presenting them with 25 statements (including unfounded or unproven claims circulated at the time), alongside the influence of information sources of varying quality on the frequency of changes in their eating behavior and the extent of misinformation held, depending on the source used for such changes. Results revealed widespread misinformation about food, eating, and health practices related to COVID-19, with the 25 statements put to participants receiving up to 43% misinformed answers (e.g., 'It is safe to eat fruits and vegetables that have been washed with soap or diluted bleach'). Whereas higher quality information sources (nutrition scientists, nutrition professionals) had the biggest influence on eating behavior change, we found greater misinformation susceptibility when relying on poor quality sources for changing diet. Appropriate discernment of misinformation was weakest amongst participants who more frequently changed their eating behavior because of information from poor quality sources, suggesting disparities in the health risks/safety of the changes performed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Feeding Behavior , Fruit , Communication , Internet
12.
Public Health Nutr ; 26(6): 1152-1162, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185402

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: School-based CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) (California's SNAP-Ed) interventions adapted to new learning environments necessitated by COVID-19. We examined the impact of these interventions on student diet and physical activity (PA) outcomes. DESIGN: Quasi-experimental, two-group, pre-post. SETTING: California public schools with ≥50 % of students Free and Reduced Price Meal-eligible (nintervention = 47; ncomparison = 17). PARTICIPANTS: Fourth- and fifth-grade students who completed the online Eating and Activity Tool for Students at pre and post (nintervention = 1087; ncomparison = 846 students). RESULTS: Intervention students reported a significantly greater increase in consumption frequency of total fruit (by 0·16 times/d; P = 0·032), driven primarily by a greater increase in 100 % fruit juice (by 0·11 times/d; P = 0·007). Intervention students reported a significantly greater increase in total vegetable consumption frequency (by 0·45 times/d; P < 0·001) than comparison students. Specifically, intervention students reported increased, whereas comparison students reported decreased, consumption frequencies for starchy vegetables (0·05 v. -0·10 times/d, P < 0·001), salad/green vegetables (0·01 v. -0·11 times/d, P = 0·005) and beans (0·04 v. -0·03 times/d, P = 0·025). Consumption frequency of other vegetables decreased in both groups (-0·01 v. -0·09 times/d) but decreased more among comparison students (P = 0·048). No differences in pre-post change in PA outcomes were detected. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that despite COVID-19-related challenges necessitating programme modifications, CFHL interventions played a role in protecting student consumption of fruit and vegetables during the 2020-2021 school year. Therefore, it appears that school-based CFHL interventions can be a viable means of safeguarding student nutrition at a time when access to nutritious food and PA opportunities are hindered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Diet , Vegetables , Fruit , Students , California/epidemiology , Exercise
13.
J Nutr Sci ; 12: e3, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185270

ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study was to develop the ASKFV-SE tool to measure self-efficacy (SE) towards requesting fruits and vegetables (FV) in the home and school environment with school-age children (grades 4-5) from urban, ethnically diverse, low-income households. Cognitive interviews reduced the tool from eleven items to seven. The 7-item questionnaire was tested with 444 children. The items loaded on two factors: home SE (four items) and school SE (two items) with one item was excluded (<0⋅40). The reduced 6-item, 2-factor structure was the best fit for the data (χ 2 = 45⋅09; df = 9; CFI = 0⋅835; RMSEA = 0⋅147). Confirmatory factory analysis revealed that the 4-item home SE had high reliability (α = 0⋅73) and marginally acceptable reliability for the 2-item school SE (α = 0⋅53). The pre-COVID intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0⋅584 (P < 0⋅001; fair; n = 57) compared to 0⋅736 during-COVID (P < 0⋅001; good; n 50). The ASKFV-SE tool measures children's SE for asking for FVs with strong psychometric properties and low participant burden.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vegetables , Humans , Child , Fruit , Reproducibility of Results , Self Efficacy
14.
Pediatrics ; 151(2)2023 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197403

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables (FV) to eligible participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). However, redemption of FMNP benefits remains low. This qualitative study explores facilitators and barriers to produce access and FMNP redemption for caregivers of WIC-eligible children in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We conducted semistructured phone interviews with caregivers between August and December 2020 to understand experiences with produce access and programming preferences to increase benefit redemption and produce consumption. We used content analysis with constant comparison with code interviews inductively and identified emerging themes through an iterative process. RESULTS: Participants (n = 30) wanted their children to eat more produce but described barriers to produce access, including limited availability, higher cost, and limited time. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC benefits improved the ability to purchase produce, but difficulties with electronic benefit transfer and pandemic-related office closures limited use of WIC benefits. Similarly, lack of convenient market locations and hours prohibited use of FMNP benefits. Caregivers described that an ideal food program would be delivery based, low cost, offer a variety of FV, and provide recipes and educational activities. CONCLUSIONS: WIC-eligible caregivers want their children to eat more produce; however, they face multiple barriers in redeeming their benefits to access fresh produce. Delivery-based, low-cost produce programs may lead to increased produce access as well as benefit use. Future study is needed on feasibility and acceptability of produce delivery options among WIC-eligible families.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Child , Infant , Humans , Female , Caregivers , Pandemics , Food Supply , COVID-19/epidemiology , Vegetables , Fruit
15.
PLoS One ; 18(1): e0280188, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197141

ABSTRACT

Bangladesh is experiencing an increasing prevalence of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Considering daily total requirement of 5 servings as minimum recommended amount, 95.7% of people do not consume adequate fruit or vegetables on an average day in the country. Imposition of lockdown during COVID-19 created disturbance in fresh fruits and vegetable production and their retailing. This incident can make these dietary products less affordable by stimulating price and trigger NCDs. However, little is known about the supply chain actors of healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits in urban areas, and how they were affected due to pandemic. Aiming toward the impact of COVID-19 on the business practices and outcomes for the vegetables and fruits retailers in Bangladesh, a survey of 1,319 retailers was conducted in two urban areas, namely Dhaka and Manikganj from September 2021 to October 2021. To comprehend the impact of COVID-19 on the profit margin of the retailers and on the percentage change in sales, a logistic and an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression were estimated. Significant difference in the weekly business days and daily business operations was observed. The average daily sales were estimated to have a 42% reduction in comparison to pre-COVID level. The daily average profit margin on sales was reportedly reduced to 17% from an average level of 21% in the normal period. Nevertheless, this impact is estimated to be disproportionate to the product type and subject to business location. The probability of facing a reduction in profit margin is higher for the fruit sellers than the vegetable sellers. Contemplating the business location, the retailers in Manikganj (a small city) faced an average of 19 percentage points less reduction in their sales than those in Dhaka (a large city). Area-specific and product-specific intervention are required for minimizing the vulnerability of retailers of vegetables and fruits and ensuring smooth supply of fruits and vegetables and increasing their uptake to combat diet related NCD.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Noncommunicable Diseases , Humans , Vegetables , Fruit , Noncommunicable Diseases/epidemiology , Bangladesh/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Diet
16.
J Health Care Poor Underserved ; 33(4S): 83-106, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2196780

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study describes the cross-sector collaboration, dynamic implementation/evaluation, and implications of Fresh for Less (FFL); an equity-focused, multi-strategy healthy food access promotion program that has been implemented since 2017 in underserved communities in Austin, Texas through farmstands, mobile markets, and Healthy Corner Stores. METHODS: Annual evaluation has consisted of repeat cross-sectional quantitative surveys, qualitative customer/staff interviews, audits and cost-effective analyses. RESULTS: Farmstand/mobile market customers reported increased fresh produce consumption and high satisfaction. During COVID-19, mobile markets quickly pivoted to delivery, filling a huge need for safe and affordable grocery delivery. Healthy Corner Stores were not as successful, and this strategy was adapted and reintroduced in 2021. Audits show increased produce provision over time and that mobile markets offered increasingly competitive pricing. DISCUSSION: Fresh for Less demonstrates how cross-sector collaborators can work together to ensure that a program designed to improve equitable food access can be resilient, sustainable, and successful.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vegetables , Humans , Food Supply , Fruit , Health Promotion , Cross-Sectional Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Commerce
17.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 2304, 2022 12 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2162340

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most children do not consume the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable (FV) servings. Changing the school food environment can be a cost-efficient, effective approach to improving children's dietary quality. There is great popular support for school salad bars as a means to increase children's FV intake within the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), yet empirical research is limited. Further, although FV consumption can facilitate healthy weight management if these foods replace high calorie items, there is a need to enhance understanding of salad bars' influence on children's diet quality and energy intake within the NSLP. This is particularly important to investigate in schools in communities characterized by high poverty, as students they serve are particularly likely to rely on school meals. METHODS: This report describes the design and rationale of a federally-funded investigation that uses validated methods to evaluate school salad bars. This district plans to install salad bars into 141 elementary schools over 5-years, facilitating the conduct of a waitlist control, cluster randomized controlled trial. Specifically, 12 pairs of matched schools will be randomly selected: half receiving a salad bar (Intervention) and half serving pre-portioned FVs only, standard under the NSLP (Control). Thus, groups will have different FV presentation methods; however, all schools will operate under a policy requiring students to take at least one FV serving. Schools will be matched on Title I status and percent of racial/ethnic minoritized students. Intake will be objectively assessed at lunch in each school pair, prior to (baseline), and 4-6 weeks after salad bars are installed (post), yielding ~ 14,160 lunch observations throughout the study duration. Cafeteria sales and NSLP participation data will be obtained to determine how salad bars impact revenues. Finally, implementation factors and cafeteria personnel's perspectives will be assessed, to identify barriers and facilitators to salad bars use and inform sustainability efforts. Proposed methods and current status of this investigation due to COVID-19 are described. DISCUSSION: Results will have great potential to inform school nutrition policies and programs designed to improve dietary quality and reduce obesity. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Retrospectively registered (10/28/22) in clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05605483).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Services , Child , Humans , Vegetables , Fruit , Food Preferences , Lunch , Energy Intake
18.
Nutrients ; 14(23)2022 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2123772

ABSTRACT

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan (2021) allowed state agencies of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) the option of temporarily increasing the Cash-Value Benefit (CVB) for fruit and vegetable (FV) purchases. To examine the impact of this enhancement on WIC caregiver experience, the MA WIC State Office invited 4600 randomly selected MA WIC caregivers to complete an online survey (February-March 2022). Eligible adults had at least one child, had been enrolled at least a year, and were aware of the increase. Of those who opened the screener (n = 545), 58.9% completed it (n = 321). We calculated the frequencies of reporting increased FV outcomes and tested whether responses differed by race/ethnicity, market access, and food security. Most caregivers perceived the CVB increase to benefit FV purchasing (amount and quality, 71.0% and 55.5%), FV consumption (offered to children and personally consumed, 70.1% and 63.2%), and satisfaction with the WIC food package (37.1% reported improved satisfaction, pre- vs. post-increase). Probability of reporting improved outcomes was not found to differ by race/ethnicity, market access, or food security. CVB increases may pose important implications for dietary behaviors and satisfaction with WIC. Policymakers should consider making this increase permanent.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Assistance , Infant , Child , Adult , Female , Humans , United States , Vegetables , Fruit , Pandemics , Poverty , COVID-19/epidemiology
19.
Am J Ther ; 29(6): e649-e650, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2123138
20.
Molecules ; 27(22)2022 Nov 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2110190

ABSTRACT

Aronia berry (black chokeberry) is a shrub native to North America, of which the fresh fruits are used in the food industry to produce different types of dietary products. The fruits of Aronia melanocarpa (Aronia berries) have been found to show multiple bioactivities potentially beneficial to human health, including antidiabetic, anti-infective, antineoplastic, antiobesity, and antioxidant activities, as well as heart-, liver-, and neuroprotective effects. Thus far, phenolic compounds, such as anthocyanins, cyanidins, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, triterpenoids, and their analogues have been identified as the major active components of Aronia berries. These natural products possess potent antioxidant activity, which contributes to the majority of the other bioactivities observed for Aronia berries. The chemical components and the potential pharmaceutical or health-promoting effects of Aronia berries have been summarized previously. The present review article focuses on the molecular targets of extracts of Aronia berries and the examples of promising lead compounds isolated from these berries, including cyanidin-3-O-galactoside, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and ursolic acid. In addition, presented herein are clinical trial investigations for Aronia berries and their major components, including cancer clinical trials for chlorogenic acid and COVID-19 trial studies for quercetin. Additionally, the possible development of Aronia berries and their secondary metabolites as potential therapeutic agents is discussed. It is hoped that this contribution will help stimulate future investigations on Aronia berries for the continual improvement of human health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Photinia , Humans , Photinia/chemistry , Anthocyanins/chemistry , Fruit/chemistry , Quercetin/analysis , Chlorogenic Acid/analysis , Antioxidants/chemistry
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