Mother and son in the kitchen

Childhood obesity

New report on how the environment influences diet

22 June 2018
2 min read

‘Families and Food: How the environment influences what families eat’ 

A new report, produced by social change design charity Shift, identifies opportunities for environmental changes that could reduce childhood obesity at a local level. 

We have been working with Shift and others to gather insights on the barriers and opportunities to promote healthy food choices and physical activity in our boroughs.


Key findings

This new report explores the experiences of 44 parents and young people living in Lambeth and Southwark. It reflects on the influence of inner-city environments on food behaviours and habits. Our economic, social and physical environments all change how we eat.

It presents key findings and points to opportunities for interventions that could improve the food environment for local families. Recommendations include:

  • Looking at new ways to redesign the spaces and information outlets within them to make healthier choices more accessible
  • Building on people’s existing habits and journeys when designing healthy food options, rather than demanding large scale changes to people’s routines
  • Taking action to diversify the market of food to serve a greater range of healthy options that are also convenient and affordable

The report, which is also accompanied by a film, features the experiences of people like Meryem, a single parent with three children aged 9, 10 and 15. 

I grew up not knowing how to cook and so taught myself using YouTube. But there are some days when I don’t feel like I’m physically able to cook due to my back pain. On these days I get waffles and chicken nuggets from the freezer for the children’s dinner, or I take them to the chicken shop, which is only two minutes away.

Meryem single parent
Two girls playing in playground

Families and food

How the environment influences what families eat

Read the report