The Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Dietary and Lifestyle Habits of Hamad Medical Corporation staff (Public healthcare workers in Qatar) - A Crosssectional Survey

Author(s): Sibusiso Reuben Kutama, Noora Mohammed S Aljaffali, Reem Khalid A Al-Saadi, Anwar Mohd Faleh Qudaisat, El Shek Hany, Lindon Mark, Manlungat Reynald, Miled Mohamed

Health care workers are on the frontline in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in many containment measures associated with dietary and lifestyle changes and probable constrained public health delivery.

Objectives: This study aims to determine whether COVID-19 induced restrictions have changed the dietary and lifestyle habits of Hamad Medical Corporation staff during the pandemic.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional online survey was conducted, collecting pre COVID-19 pandemic details and current information of dietary and lifestyle habits of HMC staff without any interventions. The data was collected using validated modified self-administered online questionnaire, to collect data on demographics, and to explore the impact of COVID-19 induced restrictions on diet and physical activity patterns, and lifestyle habits. The study received ethical clearance from MRC Qatar.

Results: The participants (n=248) were mostly female (57.3%) between the ages of 31-40 years (48.1%) all employed by Hamad Medical Corporation the principal healthcare provider in the State of Qatar. When BMI categories were grouped by gender 69.7% of females and 70.9% of males were found to be overweight. The data shows that vegetables consumption increased with 50% reporting an increase in fresh vegetables consumption but a decrease in fruits consumption and 31.5% reporting skipping 1 meal or more per day. Food items which were placed under the Sugar, Sweets and Others food group had a number of varied responses, with items like Jam 40.3%, soft/sugary drinks 22.2%, sugar 22.6%, ice cream 26.6% and pickles 25.0% being reported to have a higher percentage of being consumed more. Our results also show that 55.2% of participants in this survey do not engage in any specific physical activit

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