HALCON study, sponsored by FUNIBER, releases preliminary data

An international investigation on eating habits during confinement begins to analyze the data received and points out that 28% reported having gained weight.

In March, when many countries began to announce containment measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a team of researchers in nutrition and health from the International Ibero-American University of Mexico (UNINI Mexico), belonging to the network of universities with which FUNIBER collaborates, began to investigate the eating habits of the population during this period.

Five months later, and with the participation of 10,000 people who have volunteered their data in online surveys, the analysis of this information has begun.

To analyze a pandemic, international data

As stated by Irma Domínguez, Health Areas Postgraduate Coordinator – eLearning at the European University of the Atlantic and participant in the research: “the objective of granting an international character to the research has been achieved. It has been possible to reach many countries on different continents, we are talking about the participation of 58 countries with a wide distribution of participants, since of the approximately 10,000 participants only 24.7% are Mexican ”. This fact has been possible to a great extent, thanks to the sponsorship of FUNIBER.

The countries with the most participants have been Mexico (24.7%), Colombia (12%), Ecuador (10%) and Argentina (6%). Most of the participants come from South America (46%), although the countries of North America (26%), Central America (22%) and Europe (5%) also have a significant presence.

Although each country has taken different measures to manage the emergency, and each context has its own specificities, it is true that we are all experiencing a pandemic and confinement not seen before in history. Understanding how people react and act, changing or transforming habits, may be key to future international and national health measures and actions.

The weight, first variable

Between news and stories, we have heard people commenting on snacking throughout the day, badly slept nights, stress from news and confinement, food supply problems, among others. How has this health emergency situation affected health and nutrition habits?

The study has not yet delved into the analysis, but preliminary data indicate that 28% have gained weight, 14% have lost and 57% kept the numbers on the scale during confinement. All data is based on the statements of the participants themselves.

The member of the group of researchers, Nohora Martínez, professor of the Doctorate in Nutrition at UNINI Mexico, affirms that at the moment they are analyzing “the different variables to try to see if it is possible to give an explanation to certain data that we have found surprising and that differ from the initial hypotheses. ”

Marina Rojo, Coordinator of the Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition at the International Ibero-American University, who is also a member of the team, indicates that one possibility of interpretation is to analyze “the state of mind that may have influenced the reduction and / or weight gain of the participants ”. But, as she explains, it is still necessary to continue analyzing the data.

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