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Jennie Parnham

Name: Jennie Parnham

Based at: Imperial College London

Supervisors: Eszter Vamos (Imperial College London), Chris Millett (Imperial College London) and Stephanie von Hinke (University of Bristol)

Project title: Evaluating the impact of UK nutrition policies aimed at improving diet and nutrition among low-income families

Project summary: There are two policies in the United Kingdom which aim to improve the diet of low-income children. Firstly, the Healthy Start Scheme provides food vouchers worth £3.10/week to eligible families to purchase fruit, vegetables, cow’s milk and infant formula. Despite being introduced in 2006, there is little evaluation of the scheme, so it is not well understood whether this policy successfully improves the spending or eating habits of the participants. Secondly, the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy was introduced in September 2014. It is known that many infant children now take a school meal, yet it is unknown how it has affected the take-up of school meals among low-income children and whether has impacted their dietary intake. My studentship will use routinely collected datasets to quantitatively evaluate the impact of these two national policies on purchasing, dietary and health outcomes.

Practice engagement: To date, I have consulted with a PHE practice colleague on the development of my research. Going forward, I aim to share my research findings with PHE colleagues who work on the schemes national.

Public engagement: Imperial hosts a festival in which members of the public can come to learn about the work being done by researchers at the university. We plan to have a stall to share our research findings in an interactive and engaging way but also to gain an insight into public opinion on policies such as Free School Meals.

Find out more about Jennie’s work.

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