Data_Sheet_1_Changes in Vegetable Consumption in Times of COVID-19—First Findings From an International Civil Science Project.docx
The crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced food security and nutrition through both direct and indirect pathways. This ranged from short-term to long-term impacts, not only on health but also on food systems and thus on nutrition. This study aimed to identify how the observed constraints affected the food intake of populations across the globe. Here, special attention was paid to the consumption of vegetables and legumes and the diversity within these food groups. An online survey on Food and COVID-19 was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire translated into several languages. Binary logistic regression models and Poisson regression models were calculated to evaluate changes in consumption patterns and to test potential determinants for the changes. For more detailed information on reasons for changes open ended questions were analysed qualitatively. Time spend at home, working from home, and mental stress were important drivers for changes in dietary intake according to the 1,042 respondents included in this analysis. The participants observed a change in food quantity (38%) and vegetable intake (27%). No changes were observed for the number of vegetable groups consumed, while significant reductions in diversity were detected within all vegetable groups. Moreover, associations between the number of consumed vegetable types during the COVID-19 pandemic and income regions as well as gender were found. The regression analysis showed that the level of decrease in vegetable diversity in the different vegetable groups were often depending on educational and occupational status, gender and household environment. Changes in food prices were related to changes in vegetable intake per se, overall vegetable diversity, and diversity within the provitamin A rich vegetable group. Food systems are not static and are transitioning quickly as could be observed during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a need for a nutrition strategy to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable households to consume a diverse diet in adequate amount even in times of a pandemic.