The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on lifestyle among the Saudi population

Noara Alhusseini, Duaa Alammari, Majed Ramadan, Nada Ziadeh, Zineh Zyadeh, Jude Alshamrani, Hiba Qasim, Noura Alamri, Saleh A. Alqahtani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During COVID-19, major change occurred in the governmental regulations to combat the pandemic. Lifestyle factors are changeable habits and routine behaviors with an impact on physical and mental health. With the pandemic, sudden and radical changes occurred in the lifestyle of people worldwide. The main purpose of the study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 on lifestyle factors including (dietary habits, physical activity, sleeping patterns, smoking, and alcohol use) among the Saudi population. Design and methods: This is a cross-sectional study on a convenient sample of adults residing in Saudi Arabia. An online survey was distributed via social media channels. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the distribution of demographic variables using Chi-square χ2 tests for categorical variables and t-test for continuous variables. Bowker test, and McNemar’s Test were performed to evaluate the effects of lockdown on lifestyle factors. Results: A total of 1051 participants were included in the study. There was a slight decrease in the overall diet score during the pandemic (14.98%) compared to before the pandemic (15.05%) (p-value = 0.02), indicating poorer dietary intake during the lockdown. Approximately one-fourth of the participants (26.1%) reported following specific eating habits or a restricted diet during the pandemic (p-value = 0.0001). There was increased consumption of most components of dietary intake categories, during the lockdown. An increase in physical activities for three or more times was reported. A higher proportion of respondents reported sleeping nine or more hours a day during the lockdown (10.8%). Similarly, a higher percentage of individuals reported smoking daily during the lockdown (12.2%). As of overall health status, higher percentage of respondents reported poor health status during lockdown (6.1%). Conclusion: This study revealed major changes in lifestyle factors, negative shifts were revealed in dietary habits and smoking patterns. Positive changes were shown in physical activity, drinking water, and sleeping patterns. Our findings suggest that COVID-19 played a major role in changing lifestyle factors among adults in Saudi Arabia. Healthcare providers and public health officials are encouraged to increase awareness of healthy lifestyle factors that strengthen the immune system to combat COVID-19. The Saudi population needs increased awareness programs about healthy lifestyles to be prepared during pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Lifestyle
  • Saudi Arabia
  • alcohol use
  • dietary habits
  • physical activity
  • quarantine
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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