Delivery and engagement in public health nutrition: The use of ethnographic fiction to examine the socio-cultural experiences of food and health among mothers of young children in Skelmersdale, Lancashire
AuthorsGregg, Rebecca A.
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AbstractEncouraging good nutrition is particularly important in the early years of life for the development of appropriate food habits and healthy adults in later life. These are governed by many contending and conflicting influences. Objective: This research examines the food choice influences for mothers of young children in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire (UK). Participants were recruited from a large community food intervention (clients) and were compared with those not involved in the initiative (non-clients). This enabled the reflection of the broader socio-cultural experiences of food and the influence of “structure” and “agency” on food choices. The research adopted a phenomenological approach using ethnographic recording techniques (interview and observation). The research findings are presented as ethnographic fictions. These short fictional stories provide a “thick” description of the participant’s lifeworld. They locate these choices in the person and the place. A hierarchy of food choice influences emerged from the data, with three main findings. Most prominently, the influence of individual capacity on the food choices made. Secondly, the influence of place, town planning and the geography of an area on food choices. Thirdly, the influence of gender, relationships and social networks. Central to the thesis of this research is the use of ethnographic fiction to enable a better understanding of the complexity involved in food choice and community development approaches to nutritional change. The use of ethnographic fiction conveyed a better understanding of people and of the role and impact of an intervention upon the wider processes involved in food choice. Ethnographic fiction was used here for the first time in public health nutrition to explain the complex picture of food choice for mothers of young children in Skelmersdale, and to convey new insight on food choice and the complexity of food choice influence.
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionOrdnance survey maps reproduced under crown copyright or with permission.
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