Self-Reported Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Diet-Related Behaviors and Food Security in 5 Countries: Results from the International Food Policy Study 2020.
The Journal of nutrition 2022 ; 152: 35S-46S.
DOI : 10.1093/jn/nxac025
PubMed ID : 35274699
PMCID : PMC8992246
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted many aspects of daily life, including dietary intake; however, few studies have reported its impacts on dietary behaviors and food security across multiple countries.
We examined self-reported impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviors, food security, and overall diet healthfulness in 5 countries.
Adults aged 18-100 years (n = 20,554) in Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States completed an online survey in November and December 2020 as part of the International Food Policy Study, an annual, repeat cross-sectional survey. Survey measures assessed perceived impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating food prepared away from home, having food delivered from a restaurant, and buying groceries online, as well as perceived food security and overall diet healthfulness. Regression models examined associations between each outcome and sociodemographic correlates.
Across all countries, 62% of respondents reported eating less food prepared away from home due to the pandemic, while 11% reported eating more. Some participants reported having less food delivered from a restaurant (35%) and buying fewer groceries online (17%), while other respondents reported more of each (19% and 25%, respectively). An average of 39% reported impacts on their food security, and 27% reported healthful changes to their overall diet. The largest changes for all outcomes were observed in Mexico. Participants who were younger, ethnic minorities, or had lower income adequacy tended to be more likely to report food-related changes in either direction; however, these relationships were often less pronounced among respondents in Mexico.
Respondents reported important changes in how they sourced their food during the pandemic, with trends suggesting shifts towards less food prepared away from home and more healthful diets overall. However, changes in diet and food behaviors occurred in both healthful and less healthful directions, suggesting that dietary responses to the pandemic were highly variable.