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We could make a meal out of nothing: contested explanations of inequalities in health

We could make a meal out of nothing: contested explanations of inequalities in health

Meerabeau, L. (2008) We could make a meal out of nothing: contested explanations of inequalities in health. In: BSA Food Study Group. Food, Society and Public Health Conference, 14-15 Jul 2008, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper reports on the qualitative findings from a comparative study of public health and lifestyles in South East England and Northern France, regions with similar geographic and economic characteristics. Data from health surveys showed that both countries had an increasing BMI with age, particularly in Northern France. This was despite the finding that the percentage eating fresh fruit and vegetable at least five days a week in Northern France increased with age (from well over 50% to over 90%) compared to around 50% to around 75% in South East England.

Qualitative data on health inequalities and how they could be addressed were gathered by focus groups sampling from five tiers using the Townsend Index for comparability (14 in England with 106 participants overall; 13 in France with 143 participants). Both had about two thirds women participants, with a preponderance of middle aged and older people. There was a striking difference in the salience of diet between the two countries; in the French data it was raised only 14 times, whereas in England there were 165 occurrences, and these were often distinguished by their use of narrative. Older respondents contrasted the pressures on families today and the expense of fresh fruit and vegetables with their own childhood or childrearing, when cheap meals could be created using skills which have now been lost. These data therefore provide further evidence that providing food is a moral activity.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] This paper was first presented at the BSA Food Study Group. Food, Society and Public Health Conference held from 14-15 July 2008 in London, UK. It was given on 14 July 2008 within Paper Session 2, the Inequalities, Access and Availability theme.
Uncontrolled Keywords: food, nutrition, diet, health, inequalities
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:06
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/2278

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