The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on eating and physical activity behavior, in a university population. A healthy diet such as the Mediterranean Diet (MD) pattern, rich in fruit and vegetables, can prevent degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. We conducted a cross-sectional study and data were collected by an anonymous online questionnaire. Participants completed a survey consisting of 3 sections: sociodemographic data; dietary behavior and physical activity; the Mediterranean Diet questionnaire (MEDAS-14) and the Emotional Eater Questionnaire (EEQ). A total of 168 participants completed the questionnaire: 66.7% were women, 79.2% were from Spain, 76.8% were students, 76.2% lived in their family home and 66.1% were of normal weight. During lockdown our population shopped for groceries 1 time or less per week (76.8%); maintained the same consumption of fruits (45.2%), vegetables (50.6%), dairy products (61.9%), pulses (64.9%), fish/seafood (57.7%), white meat (77.4%), red and processed meat (71.4%), pastries and snacks (48.2%), rice/pasta/potatoes (70.2%) and nuts (62.5%), spirits (98.8%) and sugary drinks (91.7%). Cooking time increased (73.2%) and the consumption decreased of low alcohol drinks (60.1%), spirits (75%) and sugary drinks (57.1%), and physical activity also diminished (49.4%). University Employees (UE) gained more weight (1.01 ± 0.02) than students (0.99 ± 0.03) (p < 0.05) during the confinement period. A total of 79.8% of the participants obtained a Medium/High Adherence to the MD during lockdown. Emotional and very emotional eaters were higher in the female group (p < 0.01). In the event of further confinement, strategies should be implemented to promote a balanced and healthy diet together with the practice of physical activity, taking special care of the female and UE groups.
Keywords: COVID-19; Emotional Eating Questionnaire (EEQ) and university population; MEDAS-14; eating habits; physical activity.