Psychological Aspects and Eating Habits during COVID-19 Home Confinement: Results of EHLC-COVID-19 Italian Online Survey

Nutrients. 2020 Jul 19;12(7):2152. doi: 10.3390/nu12072152.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the population with consequences on lifestyles. The aim of the study was to analyse the relationship between eating habits, mental and emotional mood. A survey was conducted online during social isolation, from 24 April to 18 May 2020, among the Italian population. A total of 602 interviewees were included in the data analysis. A high percentage of respondents experienced a depressed mood, anxious feelings, hypochondria and insomnia (61.3%, 70.4%, 46.2% and 52.2%). Almost half of the respondents felt anxious due to the fact of their eating habits, consumed comfort food and were inclined to increase food intake to feel better. Age was inversely related to dietary control (OR = 0.971, p = 0.005). Females were more anxious and disposed to comfort food than males (p < 0.001; p < 0.001). A strength of our study was represented by the fact that the survey was conducted quickly during the most critical period of the Italian epidemic lockdown. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, our data need to be confirmed and investigated in the future with larger population studies.

Keywords: COVID-19; SarsCoV2; eating behaviours; emotional eating; lifestyle; lockdown; psychological effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / epidemiology
  • Internet
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult