Food behavior of the Algerian population at the time of the Covid-19: The first survey carried out in the western Algerian region
The world has been dealing with a coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic since January 2020, which is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. To avoid the spread of the disease, drastic measures were implemented. These measures, however, can have a negative impact on people's health because they influence their behavior. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on people's lifestyles, including food consumption, when combined with quarantine measures. In order to shed light on the Algerian population's food habits during the pandemic, an observational and descriptive epidemiological study on 640 people, whether or not they were infected with COVID-19, was conducted in the western region of Algeria. The study used an online and face-to-face interview questionnaire focused on the pandemic's elapsed period between February and September 2020. Our findings showed that half of our participants had influenza during the study period, but only 37.53 % of them had COVID-19. As a result, almost all of our test-positive respondents (95 %) followed a medical protocol automatically. Furthermore, 31.57 % of them stated that they were following a specific diet to avoid COVID-19 contamination. This resulted in a clear shift in Algerian cuisine (70.31 %), with processed foods (3.47 %) and modern dishes (5 %) made outside the home consumed at low levels, while consumption of vegetables (22.39 %), fruits (15.87 %), and traditional dishes (11.95 %) increased. Vulnerable people, such as breastfeeding mothers, were faced with the double burden of nourishing their babies while being Covid-positive, causing 35/40 cases to discontinue breastfeeding completely. Overall, 83.09 % of our participants were malnourished. This study is the first draft in the understanding of Algerians' dietary behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it could be used effectively in the delineation of strategies for correction and support of citizens in underdeveloped countries.