Deakin University
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Self-reported impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on diet-related behaviours and food security in five countries: results from the International Food Policy Study 2020

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-11, 00:00 authored by Rachel B Acton, Lana Vanderlee, Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron, Samantha Goodman, Alejandra Jáuregui, Gary SacksGary Sacks, Christine M White, Martin White, David Hammond

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of daily life, including dietary intake; however, few studies have reported its impacts on dietary behaviours and food security across multiple countries.

We examined self-reported impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviours, food security, and overall diet healthfulness in five countries.

Adults aged 18–100 years (n = 20,554) in Australia, Canada, Mexico, the UK and the US completed an online survey in November-December 2020 as part of the International Food Policy Study, an annual repeat cross-sectional survey. Survey measures assessed perceived impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating food prepared away from home, having food delivered from a restaurant, and buying groceries online, as well as perceived food security and overall diet healthfulness. Regression models examined associations between each outcome and sociodemographic correlates.

Across all countries, 62% of respondents reported eating less food prepared away from home due to the pandemic, while 11% reported eating more. Some participants reported having less food delivered from a restaurant (35%) and buying fewer groceries online (17%), while other respondents reported more of each (19% and 25% respectively). An average of 39% reported impacts on their food security, and 27% reported healthful changes to their overall diet. The largest changes for all outcomes were observed in Mexico. Participants who were younger, ethnic minorities, or had lower income adequacy tended to be more likely to report food-related changes in either direction; however, these relationships were often less pronounced among respondents in Mexico.

Respondents reported important changes in how they sourced their food during the pandemic, with trends suggesting shifts towards less food prepared away from home and more healthful diets overall. However, changes in diet and food behaviours occurred in both healthful and less healthful directions, suggesting that dietary responses to the pandemic were highly variable.



The Journal of Nutrition


1 - 38


Oxford University Press (OUP)


Oxford, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal