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Open AccessArticle

Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Security and Diet-Related Lifestyle Behaviors: An Analytical Study of Google Trends-Based Query Volumes

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School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, College of Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
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Graduate Institute of Biomedical Materials and Tissue Engineering, College of Biomedical Engineering, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
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Laboratory of Molecular Dietology, IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), 119146 Moscow, Russia
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Institute of Cellular and Intracellular Symbiosis, Russian Academy of Sciences, 460000 Orenburg, Russia
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Department of Social and Political Sciences, Bocconi University, 20136 Milano, Italy
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Graduate Institute of Metabolism and Obesity Sciences, College of Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
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Nutrition Research Center, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei 110, Taiwan
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Chinese Taipei Society for the Study of Obesity (CTSSO), Taipei 110, Taiwan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3103; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103103
Received: 10 September 2020 / Revised: 5 October 2020 / Accepted: 7 October 2020 / Published: 12 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition within and beyond Corona Virus)
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 disease (COVID)-19 is having profound effects on the global economy and food trade. Limited data are available on how this pandemic is affecting our dietary and lifestyle-related behaviors at the global level. Google Trends was used to obtain worldwide relative search volumes (RSVs) covering a timeframe from before the COVID-19 pandemic 1 June 2019 to 27 April 2020. Spearman’s rank-order correlation coefficients were used to measure relationships between daily confirmed cases and aforementioned RSVs between 31 December 2019 and 15 April 2020. RSV curves showed increased interest in multiple keywords related to dietary and lifestyle behaviors during the COVID-19 lockdown period in March and April 2020. Spearman’s correlation analysis showed that the strongest variables in each keyword category were (1) food security (food shortage: r = 0.749, food bank: r = 0.660, and free food: r = 0.555; all p < 0.001), (2) dietary behaviors (delivery: r = 0.780, restaurant: r = −0.731, take-away: r = 0.731, and food-delivery: r = 0.693; all p < 0.001), (3) outdoor-related behaviors (resort: r = −0.922, hotel: r = −0.913, cinema: r = −0.844, park: r = −0.827, fitness: r = −0.817, gym: r = −0.811; plant: r = 0.749, sunbathing: r = 0.668, and online: r = 0.670; all p < 0.001), and (4) immune-related nutrients/herbs/foods (vitamin C: r = 0.802, vitamin A: r = 0.780, zinc: r = 0.781, immune: r = 0.739, vitamin E: r = 0.707, garlic: r = 0.667, omega-3 fatty acid: r = −0.633, vitamin D: r = 0.549, and turmeric: r = 0.545; all p < 0.001). Restricted movement has affected peoples’ dietary and lifestyle behaviors as people tend to search for immune-boosting nutrients/herbs and have replaced outdoor activities with sedentary indoor behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; diet; nutrition; lifestyle behavior; food security; Google Trends COVID-19; diet; nutrition; lifestyle behavior; food security; Google Trends
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Mayasari, N.R.; Ho, D.K.N.; Lundy, D.J.; Skalny, A.V.; Tinkov, A.A.; Teng, I.-C.; Wu, M.-C.; Faradina, A.; Mohammed, A.Z.M.; Park, J.M.; Ngu, Y.J.; Aliné, S.; Shofia, N.M.; Chang, J.-S. Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Security and Diet-Related Lifestyle Behaviors: An Analytical Study of Google Trends-Based Query Volumes. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3103.

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