Uncovered: how COVID-19 is affecting eating habits
Find out how the pandemic impacts diets and access to food in the region.
The COVID-19 pandemic in South East Asia has stimulated changes in traditional food purchasing patterns and dietary habits. These include an increased reliance on cheaper foods (e.g. more rice with less meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit) and food ‘hand-outs’ because of loss of income; and a rise in purchase of packaged foods (e.g. instant noodles), fast foods, shopping on-line and from convenience stores due to lock-down. At the same time, some people are eating more home-cooked food while they are at home.
As economies in the region struggle to recover, the quality of the diet for the poorer sections of the population may continue to deteriorate threatening the gains made in reducing malnutrition rates. Childhood malnutrition was already high in the region with 13.9 million stunted, 4.7 million wasted and 7.5 million overweight children.
How countries in the region go about reimagining how they ensure every child has access to healthy, nutritious food should be among the biggest priorities today.
Here, we find out how families were impacted across the region.