Changes in Snack Food Intake during COVID-19 Lockdown: An Online Survey in Sri Lanka

Document Type : Original Article


1 Diabetes Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

2 Health and Wellness Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

3 Queensland University of Technology, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

5 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Background: Based on high transmissibility of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), nationwide lockdowns were undertaken to halt the spread of virus associated with changes in snack behavior. This study aimed to observe changes in snack behavior in Sri Lankan adults.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from 27th May to 02nd June 2021. A pre-tested, self-administered questionnaire was shared via online social networking platforms using Google forms.
Results: Totally, 3601 respondents participated in the study, of which 60.1% were females, and 82.1% were Sinhalese. The majority of the respondentsincreased consumption of coffee/tea (53.7%), and biscuit (42.3%); where asubstantial proportion reported decreased consumption of cake (49.8%), sweets (49.0%), snacks (47.5%), desserts (46.2%), and sugar-sweetened beverages (48.7%). Participants of 31-35 years age (OR=1.445; 95% CI:1.119-1.865, p=0.005) and 36-40 years age (OR=1.409; 95% CI: 1.065- 1.864, p=0.016) reported the significantly higher biscuit consumption. Respondents in 31-35 years age (OR=1.265; 95% CI: 1.004 to 1.592, p=0.046) significantly increased coffee/tea intake. Among ethnic groups, Sinhalese (OR=1.509; 95% CI: 1.164 to 1.955, p=0.002) and Tamils (OR=1.408; 95% CI: 1.007 to 1.969, p=0.045) showed significant odds to increased coffee/tea drinking pattern. The respondents with monthly family income levels of less than 200,000 LKR (1000 USD) significantly liked to report increased consumption of biscuits and coffee/tea.
Conclusion: COVID-19 lockdown impacted snack consumption behavior among Sri Lankan adults. The consumption of coffee/tea and biscuit increased too.