Understanding ethnic variations in the prevalence and experience of food insecurity, and its interaction with mental health: A mixed-methods longitudinal research programme.
Household food insecurity is a cause and consequence of poor mental health. Over the last decade, food insecurity has become increasingly relevant to the health of UK populations due to the continuing retreat of the welfare state, growing inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic. Emerging evidence on UK food insecurity points towards a relationship with mental health and shows that food bank usage is particularly prevalent among individuals who report mental health problems. Ethnic minority groups, especially Black British and South Asian groups, are at higher risk of poverty and experience worse mental health than the majority white ethnic group. This may indicate that they are at higher risk of food insecurity, and associated mental ill-health, than the majority (white British) ethnic group. However, evidence on the relationship between food insecurity and ethnicity in the UK – including the potentially heightened risk of ethnic minority groups to poor mental health associated with food insecurity – remains severely limited.
Aims and Objectives
- Understand variations in the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of food insecurity, and its interaction with mental health, among UK ethnic groups
- Understand how different ethnic groups conceptualise ‘food insecurity’ and how this shapes its interaction with their mental health
- Understand ethnic variations in the lived experience of food insecurity, including food bank use, and its interaction with mental health
- Theorise the nexus of marginality, ethnicity and health in post-industrial Britain provide a platform for mixed-methods, longitudinal analyses of food insecurity.