Understanding the health and wellbeing challenges of UK food poverty and food aid: a qualitative study

Project: Research

Project Details


Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Society and Ethics

Layman's description

Food poverty poses significant concerns for health and social justice. People on low incomes are far more likely to be forced into unhealthy diets and suffer from diet-related diseases. The combination of lowered incomes and rising food prices means that more people are turning to charities for emergency food aid parcels, via a primary care referral system. In the course of this three-year longitudinal qualitative project, food aid workers, food bank users and health and social care professionals were interviewed. Video-diaries, accompanied food shopping trips, and observations were used to construct a detailed picture of contemporary food poverty. The aim of the project was to gain insight into the many different factors shaping this complex public health issue.

Key findings

Contemporary lived experiences of food poverty are embedded within and symptomatic of extreme marginalisation, which in turn impacts upon health.

Food poverty was conceptualised by participants to:

1) Be a barrier to providing adequate care and nutrition for young children.

2) Be exacerbated by lack of access to adequate fresh food, food storage and cooking facilities.

3) Amplify existing health and social problems.
Effective start/end date1/06/1620/12/19


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