What is driving what young people are eating across the globe? As childhood obesity rates continue to rise across the globe, we've been working with over 100 children and across schools in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia, Vietnam and the UK, to explore this question and better understand, from the perspectives of young people, the food environments they exist within and what they think is driving unhealthy diets. Below you can find the videos across these countries which explore this question.
Powerful and pervasive advertising, extremely high consumption of fast-food and a lack of availability of healthy alternatives were some of the factors students revealed during their filming.
The Food Diaries project highlights a failure not of individuals, but of living environments, where it is increasingly difficult for young people to eat well and increasingly easy to eat badly. Diet-related non-communicable diseases are on the rise, but our accompanying policy-analysis research shows policy responses to address this problem remain largely inadequate across these countries. As in many contexts, responses remain anchored around individual behaviour change and personal responsibility.
Our food options are not just shaped by choice, but the food available to us, the environments in which we live, and the many influences we experience within them. This will vary depending on where you live, your gender, the social and cultural norms you exist within and the resources available to you. The following films offer a glimpse of these different environments and influences as captured through the camera lenses of young people.
Professor Sarah Hawkes and Anna Purdie, from the Centre for Gender and Global Health, have been collaborating with research partners across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia and Vietnam to carry out this participatory film-making project exploring the food environments of young people as part of the EU-funded SHARE project, and the MRC-funded PA4NCDs project, analysing the strength of national policy environments to combat NCDs. You can read more about the project via the Guardian: Coke, crisps, convenience: how ads created a global junk food generation.
We gave the students cameras so that they could capture their environments and influences through their own eyes. Here's what they found.