Student perceptions of the early impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on ability to purchase food, shopping, meal preparation, diet, and feelings regarding eating
The purpose of this cross-sectional, qualitative study was to evaluate the impact of the early COVID-19 pandemic on TWU students’ ability to buy food, shopping habits, diet, meal preparation practices, and feelings about eating. A general, qualitative thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo 12. The responses of 502 students (mean age 27.5 ± 1.5 years) were included. Six themes were identified: changes in financial ability to buy food; changes in attitudes, feelings, and habits related to food or eating; changes in food preparation and food or drink consumption; changes in shopping habits; no effect of COVID-19 pandemic; and increased cleaning. Most students reported change in at least one area. Examples of positive impacts included cooking more and eating healthier diets. Negative impacts included decreased diet quality and job loss. Students experienced differential effects of the pandemic, leading to short term, and potentially longer-term, positive or negative dietary implications.
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