Anxiety, anhedonia, and related food consumption in Israelis populations:An online cross-sectional study two years since the outbreak of COVID-19

Fleischer, Eden., Landaeta-Díaz, Leslie., González-Medina, Gabriel., Horovitz, Owen.

Keywords: anxiety, body-weight, food consumption, anhedonia, COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted daily life. Beyond severe health and economic consequences, psychological consequences have surfaced that require in-depth research to understand the pandemic's effects on mental health. Aims: This study aimed to evaluate the association between anxiety levels and anhedonia with food consumption patterns and changes in body weight over the two years since the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel. Methods This cross-sectional study utilized non-randomized sampling through an online survey that included 741 study participants aged 18 to 94. participants were asked to complete the Beck's Anxiety Questionnaire, the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale for Anhedonia Measurement, the Mediterranean Nutrition Questionnaire, and self-reports of body weight and serving size changes. Results Those who reported severe anxiety and anhedonia reported the highest intake of fats, sugars, and carbohydrates and the highest weight gain (e.g., Butter and cream food: severe anxiety (M = 1.342, SEM = 0.217); low anxiety (M = 0.682, SEM = 0.042), Sweet pastries: severe anxiety (M = 4.078, SEM = 0.451); low anxiety (M = 3.175, SEM = 0.436)). Anhedonic participants consumed more sweetened beverages (M = 0.987, SEM = 0.013) than hedonic participants (M = 0.472, SEM = 0.231). Among participants that gained weight, severe anxiety participants consumed significantly more salty pastries (M = 2.263, SEM = 0.550) than those with low anxiety (M = 1.096, SEM = 0.107; p = .003). A significant interaction was found between weight, anxiety, and consuming salty pastries. High anxiety subjects and weight gain declared the highest intake of this food (p = .018); Significant interactions were found between those with severe anxiety and anhedonia, who reported the highest consumption of butter and cream (p = .005) and salty pastries (p = .021). Significant associations were found between weight and anhedonia and weight and anxiety levels (p = .000, p = .006 – respectively). Conclusions The outbreak of COVID-19 and its long-term presence strengthen the negative psychological aspects and increase the consumption of foods high in fat and sugar. Further attention to nutritional health is needed since crises may occur, and we must be prepared to prevent adverse consequences.

Más información

Título de la Revista: HELIYON
Volumen: 9
Número: 6
Editorial: Cell Press
Fecha de publicación: 2023
Idioma: Ingles
Notas: WoS, Scopus