J Nutr Health.  2021 Aug;54(4):383-397. 10.4163/jnh.2021.54.4.383.

Change of dietary habits and the use of home meal replacement and delivered foods due to COVID-19 among college students in Chungcheong province, Korea

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Kongju National University, Yesan 32439, Korea
  • 2Department of Food and Nutrition, Seowon University, Chongju 28674, Korea


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the change in the use of home meal replacement (HMR) and delivered foods and food habits of college students due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A survey was conducted on 460 male and female college students in Chungcheong province in December 2020.
The methods of participation in classes in the 2nd semester of 2020 were 40.2% for ‘100% non-face-to-face’ and 40.4% for ‘more than 70.0% of non-face-to-face classes’. 52.8% of the subjects responded that their physical activity had decreased, while 36.1% of the subjects responded that their body weight had increased over the past 6 months. Regarding the use of HMR, 62.7% of the male students and 69.6% of the female students responded with ‘1–2 times a week or less’ before the outbreak of COVID-19. After the outbreak, 57.4% of males and 46.7% of females responded with ‘3–4 times a week or more’ (p < 0.05, p < 0.001). As for the use of delivered food, 58.3% of the females responded with '2–3 times a month or less' before the outbreak, whereas the rate of responding with ‘1 or more times a week’ after the outbreak was 64.6% (p < 0.001). Negative changes in food habits caused by COVID-19 were in the order of irregular meals (56.7%), increased intake of delivered food (42.2%), increased intake of snacks (33.3%), and increased intake of processed foods such as HMR (30.4%).
As mentioned above, many college students had non-face-to-face classes due to COVID-19. During this period, they experienced decreased physical activity, weight gain, and undesirable eating habits such as irregular meal time, and increased intake of processed foods, delivery foods, and snacks. Therefore, there is a high need for nutrition education and policy support for the prevention and management of health and nutrition problems of college students, which can be caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


dietary habits; home meal replacement; delivered foods; COVID-19; college students
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