Inadequate fruits and vegetables consumption among Malaysian adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nutr Health. 2022 Dec;28(4):741-750. doi: 10.1177/02601060221099782. Epub 2022 May 6.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the eating behaviours of people especially fruits and vegetable intake. No study has addressed the fruits and vegetables intake during the COVID-19 in Malaysia. Aim: to assess the daily intake of fruits and vegetables among Malaysian adults during the COVID-19 outbreak, perceived changes in intake, as well as factors associated with the changes in intake. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted through online platforms and a total of 506 participants were recruited. Semi food-frequency questionnaires were used to assess participants' fruit and vegetable intake. Socio-demographics information, knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of fruits and vegetables were collected. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS. Results: The majority of participants (99.8%) did not achieve the recommended five servings per day, in which they consumed an average of 0.84 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 46.4% of participants reported no changes in intake compared to before the outbreak. Fruits and vegetables intake was associated with physical activity level, knowledge, and beliefs of foods that may prevent/cure COVID-19. Binary logistic regression identified two significant risk factors of daily fruits and vegetables intake namely, being a non-Chinese (AOR = 1.905, 95% CI = 1.114-3.257) and having good practices scores (AOR = 2.543, 95% CI = 1.611-4.015). Conclusion: The study found a low daily intake of fruits and vegetables. The findings suggested that nutritional interventions are necessary to improve awareness on consuming more fruits and vegetables to improve overall health.

Keywords: COVID-19; MCO; eating pattern; fruit intake; inadequate intake; malaysian adults; vegetable intake.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*