Data reported in Local Data and Unmet Need suggests that awareness of what constitutes a healthy diet is high in Hackney (at least in terms of stated knowledge of the ‘5-a-day’ guidelines), but this does not appear to be translating into healthy dietary behaviours (a minority actually meet these guidelines). Only through a better understanding of the drivers of day-to-day decisions and habits around food can we develop an effective response to health harms created by poor diets locally.

Gathering local insight to inform behaviour change interventions

The causes and risk factors section referenced some insight work that has been carried out in east London (including on a housing estate in Hackney), as part of a pilot project to develop effective place-based responses to child obesity.  As part of this work, a ‘deep dive’ of the Haggerston area (where the Hackney pilot is located) was undertaken to obtain a detailed understanding of the drivers of obesity-related behaviour, including diet (the outcome of this work led to the identification of four population ‘segments’ as described in causes and risk factors section).  Local insight identified the following barriers and facilitators to healthier diets: 2

  • difficulties among parents in keeping up to date with information about free local activities
  • children can be encouraged to become more involved in cooking and growing food, suggesting that if they learn how to make food themselves they would be more likely to eat a healthy diet
  • lack of knowledge on how to prepare food on a tight budget, negative perceptions of the price of healthy food and a lack of understanding and skills related to cooking.

These insights are being used in the next stage of the project to design a concept that can be tested with the ‘disengaged’ and ‘survivor’ population segments, who were identified as facing the most significant barriers to healthier lifestyles.

Message framing

The local Community Kitchens programme has adopted Public Health England’s One You branding, selecting positively framed messages to promote healthier behaviours in order to maximise opportunities to address health inequalities.

References

  1. Healthy London Partnership, “Healthy Communities Stage 1 report,” Uscreates, London , 2016.
  2. Healthy London Partnership, “Healthy Communities Stage 1 report,” Uscreates, London , 2016.