The Covid-19 pandemic led to lockdowns in several parts of the world and, hence, changed some daily habits, including social interactions, the ability to perform sports, and—possibly—diet. The Italian government established and promulgated lockdown policies on 9 March 2020. We aim at assessing the effects of Covid-19-induced confinement policies on self-reported food consumption of self-selected Italians by means of a questionnaire that was created and diffused by the Internet. Nearly half, i.e., 49.6% of responders did not substantially modify their diet during the lockdown; however, 46.1% of them reported that they were eating more during confinement, and 19.5% gained weight. In particular, we report an increase in “comfort food” consumption, notably chocolate, ice-cream, and desserts (42.5%) and salty snacks (23.5%). In addition, 42.7% percent of this cohort attributed this increase to higher anxiety levels. Related to this, 36.8% of responders reported a decrease in alcohol consumption, even though 10.1% of them reported an increase. Interestingly, 21.2% of responders increased their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Only 33.5% of those who declared decreased consumption attributed this change of diet to lower availability and ease of purchasing such items. Equally interesting, over half of responders, i.e., 56.2%, admitted that fruit and vegetables did not appeal to them while in lockdown. Purchases of ready-made meals were reduced by nearly 50%. Future large-scale similar studies should be undertaken worldwide and will help public health authorities shape their reactions to future, unavoidable pandemics.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited