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Published: 2022-08-29

Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on meat or equivalent consumption behavior among Sri Lankan adults: a cross-sectional study

Diabetes Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Health and Wellness Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Queensland University of Technology, School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Health and Wellness Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Meat Consumption, COVID-19, Fish Consumption, Seafood Consumption, Dietary Behaviour, Sri Lanka


Background: The COVID-19 lockdown severely affected dietary behaviors, particularly meat or equivalent consumption. This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 confinement on meat or equivalent consumption pattern among Sri Lankans.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from 27th May to 2nd June 2021 as a national-level online survey in Sri Lanka using a self-administered questionnaire developed as Google forms. The questionnaire consisted of questions related to socio-demographics and dietary behaviors. Descriptive, univariate, and multinomial logistic regression was performed. The statistical significance is considered at less than 0.05.

Results: A total of 3600 respondents were included, with the majority being women (60.1%). A higher proportion of the participants increased their consumption of eggs (53.7%), dhal (47.0%), and dry fish and sprats (36.3%). A big trend was observed in cutting down the fish (41.1%) and other seafood (52.0%) consumption. Nearly half of the respondents did not change their consumption of meat other than chicken (54.5%), pulses (52.6%), soya meat (52.1%), dry fish and sprats (48.9%), canned fish (47.6%), sausages and meatballs (45.1%), and chicken (43.7%). The males (odds ratio (OR) 0.852; 95% CI: 0.738 to 0.984, P = 0.029) and Tamil (OR = 1.605, 95% CI: 1.150 to 2.239, P = 0.005) showed a significant likelihood to increase egg consumption. Respondents with a lower income <25,000 LKR (OR 2.220; 95% CI 1.672-2.947, P = 0.000) were more than twice likely to report increased dhal consumption. The same income group (< 25,000 LKR) (OR = 2.752; 95% CI: 2.024-3.741, P = 0.000) reported more than twice reduction in fish consumption. Respondents in municipal area (OR = 1.523; 95% CI: 1.186 to 3.292, P = 0.009) showed a significantly higher likelihood to reduction in other seafood consumption.

Conclusion: An overall change in meat or equivalent consumption behavior among Sri Lankan adults was evidenced. Furthermore, nutrition recommendations should be revised to avoid future long-term consequences. Fish and other seafood intake declined, while consumption of eggs, dhal, dry fish, and sprats increased.


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How to Cite

Gamage M, Sooriyaarachchi P, Francis T, Jayawardena R. Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on meat or equivalent consumption behavior among Sri Lankan adults: a cross-sectional study. jidhealth [Internet]. 2022 Aug. 29 [cited 2023 Dec. 11];5(3):730-8. Available from: