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Physical Health of Food Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Largo do Paço, 4704-553 Braga, Portugal
CICS.NOVA—Interdisciplinary Centre for Social Sciences, R. Dr. João Soares, 2400 Leiria, Portugal
Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Apartado 4133, 2411-901 Leiria, Portugal
Miguel Torga Institute of Higher Education, 3000-132 Coimbra, Portugal
NECE—Research Unit in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6200-209 Covilhã, Portugal
REMIT—Research on Economics, Management and Information Technologies, University Portucalense, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Juan Carlos Martin Hernandez
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(6), 218;
Received: 22 April 2021 / Revised: 4 June 2021 / Accepted: 4 June 2021 / Published: 9 June 2021
The present research aims to analyze the habits observed in the perception of the general physical health condition of Portuguese food consumers in the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation is focused on indicators such as weight, physical activity, and consumption habits through the adoption of healthy and not healthy food. Centered on a quantitative approach, the research is based on the application of a questionnaire to a sample of 741 Portuguese consumers, between November 2020 and February 2021, a period during which the most severe measures of social isolation were imposed by the Portuguese government, since the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, the questionnaire was applied to consumers over 18 years old. According to this population, and considering a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of 4%, the sample has a minimum of 601 responses. Being so, the results of this research are representative for the Portuguese food consumers. The theoretical model was estimated using Partial Least Squares (PLS) in the Smart PLS 3.0 software. The obtained results allowed us to conclude that the Portuguese perception of their weight did not change in the pandemic, despite showing that in general, the pandemic had a negative impact on their physical condition. On the other hand, the results show that the Portuguese associate the practice of physical exercise with physical well-being. Respondents also confirm a positive relationship between “positive eating behaviors (such as consumption of fruits and vegetables, low saturated foods and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats” and water consumption) and “the perception of physical health in general”. On the contrary, respondents’ perception of the choice of negative eating behaviors (measured by the consumption of products with a high content of salt and sugar, snacks, and processed frozen and pre-cooked foods) have a negative impact on the “assessment of physical health, in the COVID-19 pandemic”. Hence, it was concluded that the Portuguese consider that an eventual increase in weight does not necessarily correspond to a perception of worse physical health; the practice of physical exercise and good eating habits corresponds to a perception of better physical health; the adoption of bad eating habits corresponds to the perception of bad physical health. View Full-Text
Keywords: health; weight; physical exercise; eating behaviors; physical health; pandemic; COVID-19 health; weight; physical exercise; eating behaviors; physical health; pandemic; COVID-19
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MDPI and ACS Style

Oliveira, J.; Santos, T.; Sousa, M.; Lopes, J.M.; Gomes, S.; Oliveira, M. Physical Health of Food Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 218.

AMA Style

Oliveira J, Santos T, Sousa M, Lopes JM, Gomes S, Oliveira M. Physical Health of Food Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(6):218.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Oliveira, José, Tânia Santos, Marlene Sousa, João M. Lopes, Sofia Gomes, and Márcio Oliveira. 2021. "Physical Health of Food Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic" Social Sciences 10, no. 6: 218.

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