The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in late December 2019 in China, which later developed into a pandemic, has forced different countries to implement strict sanitary regimes and social distancing measures. Globally, at least four billion people were under lockdown, working remotely, homeschooling children, and facing challenges coping with quarantine and the stressful events. The present cross-sectional online survey of adult Poles (n = 1097), conducted during a nationwide quarantine, aimed to assess whether nutritional and consumer habits have been affected under these conditions. Over 43.0% and nearly 52% reported eating and snacking more, respectively, and these tendencies were more frequent in overweight and obese individuals. Almost 30% and over 18% experienced weight gain (mean ± SD 3.0 ± 1.6 kg) and loss (-2.9 ± 1.5 kg), respectively. Overweight, obese, and older subjects (aged 36-45 and >45) tended to gain weight more frequently, whereas those with underweight tended to lose it further. Increased BMI was associated with less frequent consumption of vegetables, fruit, and legumes during quarantine, and higher adherence to meat, dairy, and fast-foods. An increase in alcohol consumption was seen in 14.6%, with a higher tendency to drink more found among alcohol addicts. Over 45% of smokers experienced a rise in smoking frequency during the quarantine. The study highlights that lockdown imposed to contain an infectious agent may affect eating behaviors and dietary habits, and advocates for organized nutritional support during future epidemic-related quarantines, particularly for the most vulnerable groups, including overweight and obese subjects.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; alcohol use; dietary habits; quarantine; smoking; social distancing.