“The reality is that on Universal Credit I cannot provide the recommended amount of fresh fruit and vegetables per day for my children”: Moving from a behavioural to a systemic understanding of food practices

Evidence suggests that people living in poverty often experience inadequate nutrition with short and long-term health consequences. Whilst the diets of low-income households have been subject to scrutiny, there is limited evidence in the UK on the diet quality and food practices of households reporting food insecurity and food bank use. We explore lived experiences of food insecurity and underlying drivers of diet quality among low-income families, drawing upon two years of participatory research with families of primary school age children. The findings suggest that individualised, behavioural accounts of food practices on a low-income misrepresent the reality for people living with poverty. Behavioural or educational interventions are therefore likely to be less effective in tackling food insecurity and poor nutrition among people on a low income; policies focusing on structural drivers, including poverty and geographical access to food, are needed.

Authors: M. Power, K. J. Pybus, K. E. Pickett, B. Doherty

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Financial security, social protection, social inclusion, access to care, poverty, Maternal health, pre- peri-natal, childhood conditions, adolescent health, education, Non-communicable diseases, alcohol, nutrition, obesity, cancer, smoking, physical activity
United Kingdom

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