Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Health Science, University Magna Grecia, Catanzaro, Italy

2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University Magna Grecia, Catanzaro, Italy


BACKGROUND: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) lockdown has caused significant
changes in everyday life. This study evaluated the effect of the COVID‑19 quarantine on dietary and
alcohol consumption habits and body weight of Italian university students.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: An online cross‑sectional survey was carried out among university
students than 18 years in July 2020. The online self‑administered questionnaire included demographic
and anthropometric data (reported weight and height), weight, and dietary habits changes during of
the COVID‑19 lockdown.
RESULTS: A total of 520 respondents have been included in the study. A total of 393 (~76%) were
female, 3.8% was obese, and the mean age was 23 ± 4 years. Numerous students reported a change
in their eating habits during the lockdown with an increase in consumption of chocolate (40%),
ice cream, and desserts (34%), but most of all an increase of homemade bread and pasta (60%),
pizza (47%), and homemade sweets (55%). The students also reported an increase of vegetables,
fresh fruit, legumes, eggs, and coffee, but also of processed meat, fried foods, cheeses, butter,
and sweet beverage, and a reduction in alcohol intake. The weight gain was observed in 43.8%,
and males have greater weight gain than females (57% vs. 46%, respectively; P = 0.04). A greater
increase in body weight was observed in obese as compared to those with normal weight (77% vs.
44%, respectively; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data highlighted the need for dietary guidelines to prevent weight gain during
the period of self‑isolation, especially targeting those with overweight and obesity.


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