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Assessing Dietary Intake Status and Body Composition

Abstract The COVID-19 infection and its consequences (long-COVID-19 syndrome) have implications for weight loss, body composition, and dietary quality. In the context of the "PostCovSwim" project, which is part of a broader international study, the impact of an eight-week swimming program on post-COVID-19 patients' nutritional status (i.e., At baseline, most participants were classified as overweight based on body mass index (BMI) classification. However, their body fat percentage (BF%) classification indicated normal weight, although females were near obesity thresholds. Furthermore, at baseline, according to BMI classification, 62% of females and 61% of males, whereas on BF% for obesity classification, 44% of females and 43% of males were considered overweight or obese. Surprisingly, despite the eight-week programme, there were no significant changes in body composition. Additionally, the assessment of nutritional intake, which remained consistent throughout the study, exposed dietary imbalances characterised by an unhealthy low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) dietary pattern. This dietary pattern entailed excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods, reduced carbohydrate intake, and elevated levels of total and saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, along with free sugars but inadequate intake of fibre, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B12 (in females), vitamin B12 (in females), vitamin C, vitamin D, folate (in males), calcium, and selenium (in males). These findings underscore the urgency of implementing comprehensive dietary and lifestyle interventions for post-COVID-19 patients to optimise their recovery and overall well-being. Physical activity, like a swimming program, can have positive effects on various aspects of human well-being. However, it's also crucial to emphasize the incorporation of some regimen of strength training and a healthy diet aligned with nutritional recommendations to achieve comprehensive health benefits.
Keywords: COVID-19, swimming, dietary quality, body composition, BMI, body fat percentage