The aim of this study was to analyze adherence to the Mediterranean diet among the adult general population of Cyprus during the COVID-19 confinement.
This was an Internet-based, cross-sectional study that collected information about socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, adherence to the Mediterranean diet and other dietary details, physical activity levels, and smoking habits using a self-administered questionnaire. The survey was conducted between April 6 and June 20, 2020, 1 to 2.5 mo after the initiation of the social confinement measures.
There were 1485 Cypriot adults who participated in the study. The median Mediterranean diet score was 21 (q1 = 19, q3 = 24) with men, married individuals, residents of rural regions, and physically active participants being more adherent to the Mediterranean diet compared with women; unmarried, divorced, or widowed; residents of urban regions; and physically inactive participants, respectively (P < 0.05). Multinomial logistic regression showed that being ≥45 y of age and physically active was positively associated with the Mediterranean diet score, whereas being unmarried, divorced, or widowed and a current smoker was negatively associated with the Mediterranean diet score (P < 0.05).
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet during the confinement imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic among the Cypriot adult population was associated with male sex, age >45 y, being married, being physically active, and being resident of rural regions. The importance of better understanding of nutritional behavior during COVID-19 lockdowns is emphasized so public health authorities can plan future lockdown policies on nutritional recommendations, should a new pandemic occur.
The novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19 as it is now called, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2), presents a significant and critical threat of global health since its outbreak in China in early December 2019 [1,2]. COVID-19 quickly became a rapidly emerging situation, spreading from the Asian continent to the rest of the world. On January 30, 2020, the disease was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) . Due to the gravity of the situation, most regions and nations, in an effort to reduce and delay population transmission and ultimately lessen the burden on health care systems, enforced strict public health measures, including city and national lockdown measures. To contain the spread of COVID-19, on March 24, 2020, the government of the Republic of Cyprus implemented stringent containment measures and imposed a national lockdown. As a result, almost all avoidable outdoor activities (such as mass gatherings and events) were banned, and the Cypriot population was forced to quarantine themselves at home. Citizens could leave their home only for essentials, such as visiting food markets and pharmacies, and commuting to work when working in person was essential (e.g., health care, supermarkets, etc.) while maintaining physical distancing.