Holiday Hunger: a mixed-methods study of nutritional outcomes of school holiday food programmes

Biernat, Karolina (2020) Holiday Hunger: a mixed-methods study of nutritional outcomes of school holiday food programmes. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Karolina Biernat PhD Thesis.pdf - Submitted Version

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This thesis aimed to analyse and investigate holiday food provision for children with a focus on short and long term nutritional outcomes. A mixed-methods approach was utilised and programmes within one local authority in England were explored. Data obtained through participant observations, interviews, and an interactive visual method was analysed and interpreted through a theoretical framework based on Bourdieu’s (2010) concepts of habitus and taste. In addition, the menus offered to participants were analysed to understand the impact of the provision on nutritional intake. Data interpretation was also facilitated by the findings from the field of behavioural nutrition (Gallo, 2018; Reilly, 2018) and sociological theories of Bataille (1988) and Mauss (1969).

It was concluded that although these programmes have the potential to improve short and long term nutritional outcomes of participating families, this impact was not straightforward. The families gained access to free and safe food, however, the menus did not always provide sufficient amounts of food that was in line with the current government dietary guidelines (Public Health England, 2016). The data suggested that participants’ reactions to the menus were influenced by their habitus and that unfamiliar foods were rejected. Consequently, the provision of such foods appeared to have a negative effect on the short term nutritional outcomes. Simultaneously, offering unfamiliar foods could have a positive impact on long term dietary habits due to social facilitation and exposure.

The provision of the programme and the staff members were also influenced by the same socio-economic factors that affected the lives of participating families. Their ability to provide meals was determined by time, financial, space, and equipment constraints. Furthermore, the food donations from a food redistribution charity frequently prevented the programme from achieving its goals of improving participants’ nutritional intakes and cooking skills.

This thesis provided a significant contribution to knowledge about the importance of delivering food programmes in line with the habitus of participants. It also offered an original discussion about potential implications of these findings for practice and public policy, particularly in regard to the varying approaches to delivery and the impact of programme logistics on nutritional outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
21 July 2020Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Holiday hunger; Bourdieu; food sociology; nutrition; childhood food poverty; food insecurity; holiday food programmes
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 14:32
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:22

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