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21 October - 17 November
FoSS and ESRC logos

Beyond the blame game: reframing poverty and obesity

Nutrition wheel split into five 'wedges', separated by colour, each displaying a nutrition category with representative food items on display in each of the categories.

Lifelong wellbeing theme

What’s on offer?

In 21st century Britain, poverty and food insecurity look very different to our image of poverty in the past.  Low incomes and malnutrition often go hand-in-hand with being overweight: just one of the ways in which the paradox of want amid plenty is expressed in our bodies.

Food and eating practices are established and passed on via our family habits, the design of our built environments, and the norms of our consumerist society. Yet too often people are held responsible for their 'poor choices' and made to feel ashamed about their circumstances, diets and bodies.

In an attempt to move away from ideas about individual choice, blame and shame, this seminar asks:

How are our food habits and bodies shaped by psychology, society and the economy?

What can social scientists learn from people who have experience of being overweight?

Why do discourses of blame and shame persist around obesity , and how can we resist them?

What are the barriers to reframing poverty and obesity as social problems?

What’s it about?

In this special two-hour “Longer” Lunch, we will have four short talks followed by a discussion:

Caroline Robinson, Improving Population Health Project Manager, NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board – Trauma-informed approaches to obesity

Claire Thompson, Reader in Food Inequalities and Health, Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC), University of Hertfordshire – Poverty, obesity, resilience and the ‘undeserving poor’

Lisette Burrows, Professor in Community Health, University of Waikato, New Zealand – Social Science meets obesity in New Zealand: a reflection

Stuart King, Beezee Bodies – Innovation in public health: meeting people where they are

The Long Lunch seminar series is an online forum for exploring the relationship between research, policy and practice on food, eating and inequalities. Hosted by the Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire, the programme aims to promote discussion and debate on cutting-edge topics and questions that are of current public and policy concern, and is open to anyone working or interested in the relationship between food, eating and social inequalities. At each seminar we bring together researchers with those who are working on the frontline of food, health and public policy and practice. Short talks are followed by time for questions, discussion and friendly debate. Everyone is welcome.

Who’s leading the event?

Rebecca O’Connell

Professor of Food, Families and Society

Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care (CRIPACC)

University of Hertfordshire


Research profile:'connell

Open to

All welcome

Of particular interest to

Professionals working in and on the front-line of food, health and public policy and practices, students, researchers, general public.