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Community Education Needs to be Supported by Strong Public Policy to Tackle Food Poverty


Institute of Public Health in Ireland

Subject Keywords: Policy, Food poverty, Obesity, Nutrition, Education, Community
Topic: Obesity
Cardiovascular Health (Draft)
Chronic Conditions
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Chronic Conditions
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: All-island

Community education needs to be supported by strong public policy if it is to be fully effective at tackling food poverty and obesity, a project evaluation by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has found. In its evaluation of Decent Food for All (DFfA) - a major project to improve community diet and health - IPH found that where people live and shop had a greater impact on their diet than their own individual awareness and attitudes. Access Tackling Food Poverty: lessons from the Decent Food for All intervention at DFfA was funded by safefood (the Food Safety Promotion Board) and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland. The project lasted four years and included hundreds of community education activities designed to improve diet in poorer parts of Armagh and South Tyrone. safefood commissioned IPH to undertake the evaluation of DFfA. Dr. Kevin Balanda, IPH Associate Director, said 'The aim of the project was to reduce food poverty (this is defined as not being able to consume adequate healthy food) and improve health in the target communities. DFfA delivered over 370 core activities to 3,100 residents including local education talks on diet, cookery workshops, fresh fruit in schools, healthy food tastings and information stands. One in eight residents in the target areas participated in at least one of these activities.' The evaluation found that over 1 in 5 adults in the target areas reported they had cut their weekly food spending in the last six months to pay other household bills such as rent, electricity and gas. During the four years of the DFfA activities, this percentage had not changed significantly. There were mixed changes in the nature of food in local stores. While the overall availability and price of food increased, both モhealthierヤ food and モunhealthierヤ food were included in that increase. It was only in the larger モmultiple/discount freezerヤ type of shops that the overall price of food had decreased.





Rights: © Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Suggested citation:

Institute of Public Health in Ireland. (2008) Community Education Needs to be Supported by Strong Public Policy to Tackle Food Poverty [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 16th November 2019].


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