Researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw examined selected elements of the diet and lifestyle of the adult Polish population before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Total fat consumption increased, smokers increased, but no increase in alcohol consumption was noticed.
The study began in 2017 on a representative group of Poles (482 people) and was financed by the National Health Program. Initially, the interviewers personally visited the participants every 5-7 days to measure body weight, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure. Participants also completed a meal frequency questionnaire in the presence of the interviewer and assessed their knowledge of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to the use of the Actigraph device, data on the weekly physical activity of the respondents was collected.
"These were not declarative results, and we all know what the big difference is. This is also the only Polish study so far, on a representative group of Poles, where two interviews were conducted on food consumption in the last 24 hours. At the end of the last century, there were similar studies, but based on one interview," Dr. Iwona Traczyk, head of the Department of Human Nutrition at the Medical University of Warsaw, said.
The outbreak of the pandemic meant that personal contact with the participants of the study had to be changed into a telephone one, but this random event contributed to the increase in the value of the collected information – in fact, it is possible to compare how Poles lived – and how they ate – before the pandemic, and whether it changed healthy living habits.
The data on physical activity may be disturbing. The number of people who described their physical activity as "high" before the pandemic has decreased to 1.2 percent from 8.5 percent. From 37.8 percent up to 50.8 percent, the number of people with "low" activity has increased.