Background. Unhealthy nutrition has long been a concern of public health as a risk factor for chronic diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the importance of respiratory infection prevention behaviors. Despite the widespread vaccinations, the recommended measures of personal hygiene continue to be an important pandemic response. This study aimed to explore the eating patterns and personal hygiene during the pandemic, to determine their relationship and their social capital predictors.
Methods. The study included 1214 participants, 61% were women. The mean age was 23 years. Eating habits were measured by the MEDAS scale. COVID-19-related personal hygiene was performed following the iCARE study by four items (washing hands, hands disinfection, wearing a mask, covering coughs and sneezes). Social capital was identified in terms of family support, social participation in recreational activities, social trust, coherence, collaboration. Results revealed that 50.1% of young adults had a poor diet. The prevalence of washing hands often was 67%, using hands disinfection – 50%, mask-wearing recommendations were followed by 64% of young adults and covering coughs and sneezes by 55% of young adults. Those who comply with healthy eating are also more adherent to personal hygiene. Health favorable diet and personal hygiene both were predicted by higher family support and participation in recreational activities. Social trust and coherence were not related to either of them, social collaboration was a predictor only for diet behavior. Conclusion. Educating people on how to provide support for each other and promoting health-related recreational activities would benefit infection and chronic disease prevention.
Brigita Mieziene, Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania
Ichiro Kawachi, School of Public Health, Harvard University, United States
Arunas Emeljanovas, Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania