Name: Rosie Jenkins
Based at: Imperial College London
Supervisors: Dr Anthony Laverty (Imperial College London), Dr Eszter Vamos (Imperial College London), Prof David Taylor-Robinson (LiLaC, University of Liverpool)
Project title: Impacts of changes to public sector spending on nutritional intakes and health outcomes.
Project summary: The economic recession in 2007-2009 significantly affected the world economy and a number of countries adopted austerity measures as a result. Empirical research on impact of changes to public sector spending on nutrition is sparse. However, changes in public sector spending have coincided with increases in food bank use and food insecurity alongside food price increases, widening inequalities in the price difference between healthy and unhealthy food and a food environment which predisposes people of lower socio-economic position to eat unhealthily. In this PhD, I aim to evaluate how changes to public sector spending have impacted food environments, nutritional intakes, and health outcomes; establish how this has varied between local areas in England; and investigate what measures may reduce potentially negative impacts. To do this, I will conduct a systematic review on the impact of recessions and austerity on food environments and food intakes. I will then investigate the impact of changes to public sector spending on food purchasing and the nutritional quality of food baskets using the Living Costs and Food Survey. I will then examine potential impacts of changes in public sector spending on health outcomes using Hospital Episode Statistics data and local authority-level public expenditure data.
Practice engagement: I will create a working group of appropriate representatives from civil society organisations. The civil society organisations could also provide resources and advice regarding engaging with these individuals and groups, safeguarding, wording of participant documents, etc. This working group will act collaboratively to help identify themes as a result of the review and then work out the next steps for my quantitative research. Once the quantitative research has started, the group will meet a few times a year to discuss the work and questions which can be explored through it.
Public engagement: The working group and network of civil society organisation will enable me to involve the public by acting as a stepping stone in approaching appropriate members of the groups most affected by changes to public sector spending (eg. through working client groups and existing contacts). I will also engage the public during the dissemination of my research through appropriate channels such as blog posts, lay science events etc.
Find out more about Rosie Jenkins’ work.