Impact of Covid-19 on Psychological Stress and its Association with Dietary Practices of Indian Youth (18-25 years)

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  • Department of Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketen, Mumbai, Maharastra - 400 020 ,IN
  • Department of Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketen, Mumbai, Maharastra - 400 020 ,IN
  • Department of Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketen, Mumbai, Maharastra - 400 020 ,IN



COVID-19, dietary habits, psychological stress, mental health, physical activity


Consequences of COVID-19 pandemic can have a detrimental impact on psychological health of youth. Eating in response to stress, emotional cues and boredom may lead to excess consumption of high fat and high sugar foods, adversely affecting physical as well as mental health. To assess the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on psychological health, dietary and lifestyle practices among youth. A total of 261 youth (18-25 years) residing in India were studied for psychological stress and dietary practices during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Participants were recruited in an online survey using snowball and convenience sampling techniques. An online questionnaire was designed to elicit information on socio-demographic details, physical activity, dietary habits and frequency of foods consumed before and during the pandemic. Covid-19 Peritraumatic Distress Index (CPDI) was used to assess stress. As per the CPDI scores of 261 participants enrolled, 13% were severely stressed while 32.95% had mild-moderate stress. Daily exercise during lockdown significantly predicted CPDI scores (p<0.05). Frequency of consuming fried foods, soft drinks, desserts and fast-food prior and during the lockdown was significantly associated with stress whereas frequency of consuming nuts was negatively associated (p<0.05). Frequent snacking and consumption of outside food was also associated with CPDI scores (p<0.01). COVID-19 has adversely impacted mental health and dietary habits thereby leading to severe distress and disease risk among youth. Stress management and adaptation of healthy diet and lifestyle should be recommended as a nonpharmacological approach towards holistic health among youth.


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How to Cite

Chopra, C., Mandalika, D. S., & Kinger, N. (2022). Impact of Covid-19 on Psychological Stress and its Association with Dietary Practices of Indian Youth (18-25 years). The Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 59(4), 492–505.
Received 2022-01-26
Accepted 2022-08-25
Published 2022-10-10



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