The effect of COVID-19 on eating habits and lifestyle of people

The effect of COVID-19 on eating habits and lifestyle of people

(by Talshyn Baimuldanova)

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, which was started on the 19th of March in Kazakhstan, the majority of people started to work from home and students switched to the online education format. At the beginning of the lockdown, the government regulations obligated citizens to stay at home, and avoid contact with other people. Consequently, the Covid-19 pandemic isolation affected differently on the lifestyle and eating habits of citizen.

People by staying at home, having a continuous passive work routine became easily bored. Additionally, the everyday unfavored news related to the Covid-19 made most of them stressed.  The rumors about the likelihood of food shortages made the population panic and buy food products in large quantities for stock. The Committee on Statistics of the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan declared that if the average retail check for food in 2019 was 5268 tenge, for April – July 2020 it was equal to 9 036 tenge. As a result, people unconsciously started to consume more food and hold an unhealthy lifestyle. According to the survey, which was held in Italy by Laura Di Renzo and her colleagues, the average sleep hours of the Italian population increased during the lockdown. This rise in sleep hours can be found among the population of Kazakhstan too, as many celebrities stated on their social media channels that they were sleeping more.

On the other hand, the appearance of Covid-19 made another half of people think about their life and health. Some individuals became aware of their immune system and started to experiment with a healthy lifestyle. The head of the Macroeconomic research and forecasting department of the National Bank Monetary Policy Nurgaysha Turekhanova stated that a rise in demand was identified for vegetables and fruits, especially for immunostimulating products such as apples, lemons, oranges, and garlic. Notwithstanding people followed the rules of staying at home, they regularly did sport and took vitamins, and started to pay attention to healthy eating.  According to the analysis of online shops, the demand for home fitness products, as well as for sports and recreation was increased during the lockdown period.

The reason for people’s demonstrations of various behaviors to the lockdown might be related to their motivation and knowledge. People who were aware of the danger of Covid-19 tried to follow all regulations and searched for ways of improving their immune systems. Some individuals realized the negative effect of stress and panic on their mental health and did their best to stay positive. Taking online courses, reading books, and learning a new skill affected people’s well-being positively, improving their state of boredom and demotivation. Contrariwise, people who lost their motivation mainly degraded being depressed. However, the Covid-19 lockdown made almost all people think about life, about the importance of health, about the role of family and friends. This pandemic situation gave us a lesson to be united, help, and support each other.

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