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How Is COVID-19 Shaping Families’ Relationships With Food and the Food Environment in England? A Qualitative Research Protocol

Isaacs, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5135-232X, Squires, C. and Hawkes, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5091-878X (2021). How Is COVID-19 Shaping Families’ Relationships With Food and the Food Environment in England? A Qualitative Research Protocol. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, pp. 1-9. doi: 10.1177/1609406921991371


Rates of childhood overweight and obesity continue to rise in England, along with a growing gap in obesity prevalence between children in the most and least deprived areas. To address child obesity, the UK government is increasingly considering how to intervene in the (food) environments that shape people’s purchases, rather than focusing solely on individual health behaviors. With the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns having rapidly reconfigured life in the UK, it is important to understand how these changes may have impacted food practices and engagement with food environments. This remote, longitudinal qualitative study seeks to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts are shaping families relationships with the food and the food environment. A sample of 60–80 parents/carers of school or nursery-aged children will be recruited from across three case study sites in England to take part in semi-structured interviews and set of flexible creative activities at three time points over the course of a year. Findings will provide practical policy insights for England’s obesity prevention strategy as well as methodological insights in terms of conducting research into lived experience remotely.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: COVID-19, food environments, food practices, longitudinal qualitative research, obesity prevention
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
T Technology > TX Home economics
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology > Food Policy
School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Date available in CRO: 17 Mar 2021 09:45
Date deposited: 17 March 2021
Date of acceptance: 7 January 2021
Date of first online publication: 15 March 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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