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A survey of food projects in the English NHS regions and Health Action Zones in 2001

Caraher, M. & Cowburn, G. (2004). A survey of food projects in the English NHS regions and Health Action Zones in 2001. Health Education Journal, 63(3), pp. 197-219. doi: 10.1177/001789690406300302


Background and Objective: This article sets out the findings from an analysis of food projects, with a particular emphasis on fruit and vegetables, from the 26 Health Action Zones (HAZs) in England and those taking place within the former NHS regional areas in 2001. The objective was to gather information on the existing practice to inform future work.

Methods: A series of interviews with key informants in the London area and a review of all the London Health Improvement Programmes and Coronary Heart Disease Local Implementation Plans were used to inform the development of an interview schedule and questionnaire. A second phase consisted of interviews with leads in the NHS Regional Offices. The third phase involved distribution of a questionnaire to the 26 Health Action Zones (HAZs).

Results: Comprehensive data on food projects was not routinely available. The large number of initiatives related to food led some respondents to feel unsure as to under which policy to locate their food and fruit and vegetable work. Projects tended to be based on the development of skills (for example, cooking classes) or on a settings approach such as activities in schools or workplaces. A strategic focus was reported as being more common at a local level. Evaluation of food projects was at an early stage in many areas.

Conclusions: The future sustainability of food and fruit and vegetable projects was identified as a Key issue. Future policy development of food projects need to be clearly guided by a coherent policy focus and an integrated approach which clearly tackles the root causes of food access and poverty.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: fruit and vegetables, food projects, nutrition, health promotion, food policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
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