UCL Health


Opportunities to reduce inequalities in obesity through supportive food provisioning environments

This project will examine what opportunities exist to reduce inequalities in obesity through supportive food provisioning environments.

22 June 2021


Given that so much of the food we consume is obtained in food outlets (e.g., supermarkets, corner shops, and pre-prepared food outlets), it is critical to understand the role of the food provisioning environment in shaping patterns of food purchasing and consumption, as well as the effects that this environment has in influencing overweight and obesity.


To determine how food provisioning environments (e.g., the places we go to buy food) could be adapted so as to support the purchasing of more nutritious foods.

  1. To understand individual and community engagement with the food environment in areas of deprivation in the UK. 
  2. To identify areas for change in the food provisioning system that fit in with the realities of individuals’ lives.


This project takes an ethnographic case study approach. In a series of case studies across England, we will use a range of participatory research methods to engage with community members. These include photo-elicitation, shop-along interviews, and participant observation.


Case studies will be carried out between mid-2018, and mid-2019 with results expected towards the end of 2019.


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The NIHR Policy Research Unit in Healthy Weight is part of the NIHR and hosted by UCL.