Screen time-based sedentary behaviour, eating regulation and weight status of university students during the COVID-19 lockdown

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Purpose: This study aims to investigate the relationships among screen time-based sedentary behaviour, eating self-regulatory skills and weight status among private university students during the Movement Control Order (MCO). Design/methodology/approach: A total of 186 private university students was enrolled in this cross-sectional study using a combination of snowball and purposive sampling approaches. Anthropometric measurements, including body height, body weight before and during the MCO enforcement were self-reported by the respondents. Screen-time based sedentary behaviour sedentary behaviour was evaluated using HELENA sedentary behaviour questionnaire, whereas the Self-Regulation of Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (SREBQ) was used to determine the eating self-regulatory skills in MCO. Findings: Respondents spent most of the time on the internet for non-study purposes (148 ± 77.7 min). It is also noted that 64.5% of the respondents had medium eating self-regulatory skill during the MCO, with an average score of 3.0 ± 0.5. Findings from path analysis confirmed that poor eating self-regulation significantly contributed to the weight gain during home confinement (ß = −0.24, p = 0.01). In conclusion, eating self-regulation, but not total screen time, emerged as the determinant for weight gain during the COVID-19 lockdown. Originality/value: According to the authors’ knowledge, this study was among the few that investigated sedentary behaviour, eating self-regulatory skills and weight status of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition and Food Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Eating self-regulatory skills
  • Movement Control Order
  • Remote learning
  • Screen time-based sedentary behaviour
  • Weight status

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