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Who attends foodbanks in the UK and why? The impact of food poverty on health and wellbeing

ucyow3c3 August 2015

pencil-icon Written by Edwina Prayogo, UCL Centre for Behavioural Medicine PhD student

(from l–r) Dr Angel Chater, Dr Mary Barker, Edwina Prayogo and Dr George Grimble

(from l–r) Dr Angel Chater, Dr Mary Barker,
Edwina Prayogo and Dr George Grimble

UK foodbank use has unmasked food poverty – a condition that leads to poorer health and reduced wellbeing in millions of British people. I have been involved in interdisciplinary research that combines health psychology and clinical nutrition, with the aim of uncovering who attends London foodbanks and why.

Alongside members of our UCL Grand Challenges-supported research group, as well as other experts, I was privileged to present our research to an audience of academics, health professionals and people working in NGOs at an event on 20 July.

To start, Dr Angel Chater (UCL Life Sciences) described how the research arose from my MSc project at UCL. For this, I investigated fruit and vegetable consumption and the psychological wellbeing of London foodbank clients, and this developed into my current PhD project.

Then, Dr George Grimble (UCL Medical Sciences) explained how his interest in the area of food poverty was piqued by his involvement as advisor to Channel 4’s The Food Hospital, during which he assisted in a ‘fibre challenge’ smartphone app experiment. He went on to replicate the experiment for an MSc project with foodbank clients, and in doing so exposed the very poor diet of many participants.

(more…)