Background People’s dietary and lifestyle habits appeared to be influenced by restrictive measures imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to examine the differences in dietary and lifestyle habits during and after the lockdown measures in Cyprus.
Methods Two online cross-sectional surveys were conducted, using a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire to collect information on sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics, smoking habits, physical activity, and dietary habits. The first survey was conducted between the 6th of April 2020 until the 20th of June 2020 (during national lockdown) while the second survey was conducted between the 27th of October 2021 to the 20th of January 2022 (post-lockdown).
Results A total of 2503 individuals participated in the study. A higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and poultry was identified during lockdown compared to the period after the lockdown. Moreover, a daily greater intake of olive oil and a lower consumption of alcohol was found during the confinement period compared to the post-confinement period. During lockdown, the majority of participants (43.0%) never or rarely used delivery services, whist the majority of the participants after lockdown used the delivery services 1-3 times per month (37.0%) (p<0.001). During lockdown, around 66% of the participants were physically active, compared to 55.5% after lockdown (p<0.001). Furthermore, when compared to those with a normal BMI, more overweight and obese respondents ordered food 1-2 times per week in both periods (p<0.001).
Conclusions Dietary and lifestyle habits of the participants were healthier throughout the lockdown period than after the end of the restrictive measures due to COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical to encourage the Cypriot population to maintain the healthy dietary and lifestyle habits established during the lockdown in their daily lives after the confinement.
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