Objective: The massive increase in COVID-19 cases led to the implementation of nationwide lockdown in Turkey. While enforced lockdown is an effective strategy to abate the transmission of the virus, it causes significant lifestyle changes in every part of the community. This study aims to assess the changes in eating habits, sleeping behaviour, and physical activity status of final year medical students (interns) whose education was suspended during the pandemic.
Design: In this cross-sectional epidemiological study, an online questionnaire was created. Interns were asked questions regarding sociodemographic status, eating habits, sleeping behaviour and physical activity status before and during COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in dietary habits and sleep quality were evaluated under the guidance of Turkish Nutrition Guide, Determination of Nutritional Status Report, Turkey National Nutrition and Health Survey and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
Setting: Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine-Ankara/Turkey.
Participants: Among 536 students, a total of 340 students (63.4%) answered the questionnaire.
Results: After the beginning of lockdown, an increase in body mass index (BMI) was observed in both female(p=0.002) and male students(p=0.013). Students having healthy dietary habits increased by 18.8% and unhealthy dietary habits decreased by 3.2% during lockdown(p<0.001). Overall, 63.2% of students reported a decrease in physical activity, and 33.6% reported a reduction in sleep quality whereas 38.6% reported an improvement in sleep quality. There was no significant difference in sleep quality between genders(p=0.075).
Conclusions: This study indicated that medical school suspension and enforced lockdown led to significant changes in interns' eating behaviour, physical activity, and sleeping habits.
Keywords: COVID-19; Eating Behaviour; Medical Students; SARS-CoV-2; Sleeping Habits.