Physical Activity Is Associated With Improved Eating Habits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Diego G. D. Christofaro, André O. Werneck, William R. Tebar, Mara C. Lofrano-Prado, Joao Paulo Botero, Gabriel G. Cucato, Neal Malik, Marilia A. Correia, Raphael M. Ritti-Dias, Wagner L. Prado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to analyze the association between physical activity andeating habits during the COVID-19 pandemic among Brazilian adults. A sample of1,929 participants answered an online survey, however 1,874 were included in theanalysis. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating habits was assessedinquiring about participants’ intake of fruits, vegetables, fried foods, and sweetsduring the pandemic. Physical activity was assessed by asking participants abouttheir weekly frequency, intensity and number of minutes/hours engaging in structuredphysical activities per week. Participants were then stratified into categories based onmoderate-to-vigorous intensity (0–30; 31–90; 91–150; 151–300; and >300 min/week)and into active (≥150 min) or inactive (<150 min). Increased sweets consumption wasthe most commonly reported change to eating habits (42.5%), followed by an increase inthe consumption of vegetables (26.6%), fruits (25.9%), and fried foods (17.9%). Physicalactivity practice was related to lower consumption of fried foods (OR = 0.60; p < 0.001)and sweets (OR = 0.53; p < 0.001). A cluster analysis revealed subjects with higherthe level of physical activity was more likely to follow a healthy diet (p < 0.001). Thus,physical activity was positively associated with healthier eating habits. Health authoritiesmust recommend regular physical as a strategy to improve overall health during theCOVID-19 pandemic. Future studies should address the physical activity interventionsto improve health status during a pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number664568
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2021


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