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From healthy food environments to healthy wellbeing environments: Policy insights from a focused ethnography with low-income parents’ in England

Isaacs, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5135-232X, Halligan, J., Neve, K. & Hawkes, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5091-878X (2022). From healthy food environments to healthy wellbeing environments: Policy insights from a focused ethnography with low-income parents’ in England. Health & Place, 77, 102862. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102862

Abstract

Overweight and obesity continue to increase globally. In England, as in many other countries, this disproportionately affects people who experience socioeconomic deprivation. One factor blamed for inequalities in obesity is unhealthy food provisioning environments (FPEs), leading to a focus on policies and interventions to change FPEs. This paper aims to provide insights into how FPE policies could more effectively tackle inequalities in obesity by addressing a key research gap: how the structural contexts in which people live their lives influence their interaction with their FPEs. It aims to understand how low-income families engage with FPEs through in-depth focused ethnographic research with 60 parents across three locations in England: Great Yarmouth, Stoke-on-Trent, and the London Borough of Lewisham. Analysis was guided by sociological perspectives. FPEs simultaneously push low-income families towards unhealthy products while supporting multiple other family needs, such as social wellbeing. FPE policies and interventions to address obesity must acknowledge this challenge and consider not just the makeup of FPEs themselves but how various structural contexts shape how people come to use them.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Publisher Keywords: Food provisioning environments, Food practice, Low-income, Inequalities, Obesity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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