Diet and selected elements of lifestyle in the Polish population before and during the COVID-19 pandemic – a population study
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Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
Beata Sińska   

Medical University of Warsaw, 61 Żwirki i Wigury St, 02-091, Warsaw, Poland
Introduction and objective:
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the introduction of sanitary restrictions in many countries which necessitated numerous lifestyle changes, especially in the diet. The study aimed to compare the diet and selected lifestyle elements in the Polish population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and methods:
The study group consisted of 964 individuals: 482 before the COVID-19 pandemic (composed using the Propensity Score Matching method) and 482 during the pandemic. The National Health Programme 2017–2020 results were used.

During the pandemic increased, e.g. the intake of: total lipids (78.4 g vs. 83 g; p<0.035), saturated fatty acids (SFA) (30.4 g vs. 32.3 g; p=0.01), sucrose (56.5 g vs. 64.6 g; p=0.0001), calcium (602.5 mg vs. 666.6 mg; p=0.004), and folate (261.6 mcg vs. 284.7 mcg; p=0.003). When nutrient densities of pre-Covid-19 and COVID-19 diets were compared, some differences were noted; per 1,000 kcal the amounts decreased of plant protein (13.7 g vs. 13.1 g; p=0.001), carbohydrates (130.8 g vs. 128.0 g; p=0.021), fibre (9.1 g vs. 8.4 g; p=0.000), sodium (1,968.6 mg vs. 1,824.2 mg; p=0.000); while the amounts increased of total lipids (35.9 g vs. 37.0 g; p=0.001), SFA (14.1 g vs. 14.7 g; p=0.003), and sucrose (26.4 g vs. 28.4 g; p=0.001). The COVID-19 pandemic had no effect on alcohol consumption, the number of smokers increased (from 131 to 169), sleep duration during weekdays, and the number of persons with low physical activity (182 vs. 245; p<0.001).

Numerous unfavourable changes occurred in the diet and lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may contribute to the exacerbation of health problems in the future. Nutrient density in the diet combined with well-designed consumer education may underlie the development of diet recommendations.

BMI – Body Mass Index; CAPI – Computer Assisted Personal Interviews method; CATI – Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews method; COVID-19 – group, respondents during COVID-19 pandemic; DIETA 6.0 – 6.0 Diet Programme for Planning and Ongoing Evaluation of Individual and Collective Nutrition in Methodical Guide of Dietary Research; GDP – Gross Domestic Product; KomPAN – Dietary Habits and Nutrition Beliefs Questionnaire; n-3 FA – n-3 fatty acids; NHP – National Health Programme; pre-Covid-19 group – respondents before COVID-19 pandemic; SFA – saturated fatty acid
The study was carried out under the National Health Programme 2016–2020 (Contract Nos. 6/1/3.1.1c/ NPZ/2017/1210/644 and 6/1/3.1.1d/NPZ/2017/1210/645) of the Ministry of Health in Warsaw, Poland.
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