At the beginning of the year 2021, the media put on the first page of their agenda the students' cry for help: No food, unhealthy food, too little or no money.... In connection with this cry for help, scientific research was then carried out, which provided the first clues to the extent of the students' plight.


Through the transatlantic collaboration of academics, three main risk factors were highlighted based on student reports: the high level of food insecurity, the loss of employment and the low level of mental well-being during the pandemic. The health crisis caused a general panic and most people were forced to quarantine themselves due to political decrees in order to avoid the risk of infection and stay alive. With the loss of jobs and lack of monthly salary, people and especially students, who usually face constant financial difficulties anyway, had to rely on cheap food, which mostly meant unhealthy food.


For most students, eating junk food during the outbreak was - and still is - a way out to survive. Many universities were not prepared for this situation at all, or were inadequately prepared. Some students reported overpriced and unhealthy meals in the canteen and meal boxes filled with junk food, sometimes resulting in stomach aches for days. Eating cheap food was the only way for students not to starve until real and lasting action could be taken. The negative effects of processed food on mental health cannot be denied, and the food insecurity that remains widespread among students also consumes a large part of their minds, severely limiting their performance and productivity.


As numerous studies have shown, unhealthy food consumption, which profoundly affects the intrinsic immune system of the human body, can lead to a higher risk of infection and a more severe course of viral illness. A high number of people who suffered severe acute respiratory problems during the course of a viral illness were people with underlying chronic diseases, such as heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, which are mostly due to an unhealthy, unbalanced diet. You can find more information about this in the following documents.


Unhealthy eating, such as junk food, is a globally proven concept that has been perpetuated since the 1950s. It has become a lifestyle that weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight bacteria and viruses. Faced with this frightening situation, it is urgent to return to a vital lifestyle that respects the values of a healthy, balanced diet.

The pandemic inspires us to realise that good nutrition can help reduce or even keep disease at bay. Some studies even conclude that eating foods high in whole grains, fibre, unsaturated fats and antioxidants can modulate the gut microbiome and boost intrinsic immune function.