Changes in Diet, Lifestyle and Orthorexia Nervosa Attitudes of Vegetarian, Vegan and Omnivorous Individuals in COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Nutrition and Diet, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey


Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, one of the most changing practices of individuals has been the eating habits. This study evaluated the effects of COVID-19 on nutritional habits of vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous individuals.
Methods: In a cross-sectional online survey, questions about eating habits, lifestyle behaviours and self-reported anthropometric measurements were assessed using dfferent social media platforms (instagram, twitter, facebook, etc.). A total of 965 people (357 vegetarians, 246 vegans and 362 omnivores) were enrolled.
Results: Organic food consumption and food label reading habits of vegan (respectively OR:4.66; 95%CI 1.81-5.9 and OR:4.64; 95%CI 1.13-8.91) and vegaterian (respectively OR:4,66; 95%CI 1.60-7.54 and OR:1.79; 95%CI 1.08-2,97) individuals in the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased compared to omnivores. While the physical activity duration of individuals in all groups decreased at a high rate, the most significant change was observed in the vegan group. Body weight increased mostly in the omnivorous group. Those in the vegetarian group had the least change in screen time, body weight and sleep time. With the COVID-19 pandemic, orthorexia nervosa (ON) score of vegetarians (-1.0±2.9), vegans (-1.6±3.09) and omnivores (-1.4±3.0) decreased significantly.
Conclusion: With the COVID-19 pandemic, physical activity duration and ON score decreased in each group. More than one third of the individuals in each group stated that their body weight increased. Considering the nutritional sensitivity of vegetarian and vegan individuals, it is recommended that the nutritional and physical activity recommendations
given during the COVID-19 pandemic to be increased.