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

Nutrients. 2020;12(7)

Plain language summary

The new form of coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) has triggered a worldwide state of emergency. The lockdown measures have had a great impact on everyday life, often associated with a negative influence on psychological well-being. The aim of this study was to analyse the psychological status during the COVID-19 pandemic and its correlation with the eating habits in the Italian population. This study is based on the “Eating Habits and Lifestyle Changes in COVID-19 lockdown” (EHLC-COVID19) project which conducted research, using an electronic survey in Italian, to collect data on the Italian population regarding eating habits, lifestyle and the behavioural and emotional impact related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results showed that the lockdown has had effects on the mood of the participants (n = 61.3% lowering of their mood). Most of the participants referred to anxious feelings and depressed moods as well as exhaustion and tension with tachycardia and breathing difficulties. Furthermore, almost half of the participants felt anxious because of their eating habits which lead to comfort food and increased food intake in order to feel better. Authors conclude that since the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going, further study on psychological status, eating habits and positivity in relation to COVID-19 should be conducted.


undefined: 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, = 0.005). Females were more anxious and disposed to comfort food than males ( < 0.001; < 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.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Neurological ; Immune and inflammation
Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Home confinement
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Psychosocial influences
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Psychological
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article


Nutrition Evidence keywords : Weight gain ; Overweight ; Obesity ; Underweight ; Eating habits ; Body mass index