Introduction: This study explored how food security, perceived stress and mental health of persons with metabolic syndrome (MetS) changed in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: An online survey was administered to persons enrolled in a 2-year lifestyle intervention trial to reverse metabolic syndrome at baseline; the survey was repeated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcomes were a change in depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and food security as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-8, Cohen Stress Scale, and USDA 10-item Food Security Screener. Changes in outcomes were analyzed with measures of association, paired t-test, repeated measures and independent t-test.

Results: Participants (n = 132; MetS diagnosis) were mostly female (67%), White (70%), middle-aged, well-educated, with median income of $86,000. Perceived stress was significantly higher at baseline than follow-up (18.5 ± 6.4 vs. 14.9 ± 7.2; P

Conclusion: A high-risk sample for COVID-19 did not experience increased stress or food insecurity, but demonstrated increased depressive symptoms after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, with some baseline susceptibility noted.

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition (CHST)


RIT – Main Campus