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West Bromwich, United Kingdom

Thompson C.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Cummins S.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Brown T.,Queen Mary, University of London | Kyle R.,Sandwell PCT
Critical Public Health | Year: 2015

Family meals, as acts of domestic food provisioning, are shaped by the competing influences of household resources, food preferences and broader cultural norms around dietary practices. The place of children’s food tastes in family meal practices is particularly complex. Food tastes stand in a reciprocal relationship with family food practices: being both an influence on and a product of them. This paper explores how parents think about and respond to their children’s food preferences in relation to family meal practices. A qualitative study was conducted with residents of Sandwell, UK. The results presented here are based on the responses of nine key participants and their families. Photo elicitation methods generated participant food photo diaries that were used to inform subsequent interviews. A thematic analysis revealed two contrasting ways of incorporating children’s tastes into family meal routines: (1) ‘what we fancy’ and (2) ‘regulated’. The former entails repeatedly consulting and negotiating with children over what to cook for each meal. It is supported by the practical strategies of multiple and individually modified meals. The latter relies upon parents developing a repertoire of meals that ‘work’ for the family. This repertoire is performed as a series of ‘set meals’ in which any requests for variation are strongly resisted. Our findings add to the small body of literature on household food provisioning and suggest that achieving the idealised ritual of the family meal is underpinned by a range of values and strategies, some of which may run counter to health messages about nutrition. © 2015 Taylor & Francis

Stewart A.,Staffordshire University | Rao J.N.,Staffordshire University | Middleton J.D.,Sandwell PCT | Pearmain P.,University of Birmingham | Evans T.,University of Birmingham
Perspectives in Public Health | Year: 2012

Aims: Residents of one street expressed concern about the number of incident cancers, following the installation of a nearby mobile phone base station. The investigation explored whether the base station could be responsible for the cancers. Methods: Data were collected from residents' medical records. GPs and oncologists provided further information. Results: Ward-level cancer incidence and mortality data were also obtained, over four threeyear time periods. A total of 19 residents had developed cancer. The collection of cancers did not fulfil the criteria for a cancer cluster. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for all malignant neoplasms (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) in females (1.38 (95% CI, 1.08-1.74)) and all persons (1.27 (CI, 1.06-1.51)) were significantly higher than in the West Midlands during 2001-3. There were no significant differences for colorectal, female breast and prostate cancers, for any time period. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for non-melanoma skin cancers in males and all persons was significantly lower than in the West Midlands during 1999-2001, and significantly lower in males, females and all persons during 2002-4. Conclusions: We cannot conclude that the base station was responsible for the cancers. It is unlikely that information around a single base station can either demonstrate or exclude causality. Copyright © 2012 Royal Society for Public Health.

Thompson C.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Cummins S.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Brown T.,Queen Mary, University of London | Kyle R.,Sandwell PCT
Health and Place | Year: 2013

Despite a sustained academic interest in the environmental determinants of diet, relatively little is known about the ways in which individuals interact with their neighbourhood food environment and the use of its most important element, the supermarket. This qualitative study explores how residents of deprived neighbourhoods shop for food and how the supermarket environment influences their choices. Go-along interviews were conducted with 26 residents of Sandwell, a uniformly deprived metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, UK. Routine approaches to food shopping are characterised in terms of planning and reliance on the supermarket environment. Four distinct routines are identified: chaotic and reactive; working around the store; item-by-item; and restricted and budgeted. This suggests that residents of deprived neighbourhoods do not have uniform responses to food environments. Responses to supermarket environments appear to be mediated by levels of individual autonomy. A better understanding of how residents of deprived neighbourhoods interact with their food environment may help optimise environmental interventions aimed at improving physical access to food in these places. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Thompson C.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Cummins S.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Brown T.,Queen Mary, University of London | Kyle R.,Sandwell PCT
Appetite | Year: 2015

Picky eaters are defined as those who consume an inadequate variety of food through rejection of a substantial amount of food stuffs that are both familiar and unfamiliar. Picky eating is a relatively recent theoretical concept and while there is increasing concern within public health over the lack of diversity in some children's diets, adult picky eaters remain an under researched group. This paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study on the routine food choices and practices of 26 families in Sandwell, West Midlands, UK. Photo elicitation and go-along interview data collection methods were used to capture habitual food related behaviours and served to describe the practices of nine individuals who self identified or were described as picky eaters. A thematic analysis revealed that those with the food related identity of picky eater had very restricted diets and experienced strong emotional and physical reactions to certain foods. For some this could be a distressing and alienating experience that hindered their ability to engage in episodes of social eating. Further research is needed to illuminate the specific practices of adult picky eaters, how this impacts on their lives, and how possible interventions might seek to address the challenges they face. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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