Healthy eating strategies for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations: a meta-ethnography

Christina Gillies*, Sabina Super, Hedwig Te Molder, Kees De Graaf, Annemarie Wagemakers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In developed countries, diet-related health inequalities between people with different levels of socioeconomic advantage persist. However, there is limited qualitative evidence to inform the design of effective healthy eating (HE) strategies in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations (SDPs). The purpose of this review was to explore the characteristics influencing HE strategies for SDPs and develop a new understanding of how and why they influence their success.
Methods: A qualitative evidence synthesis using a systematic meta-ethnographic approach. The twelve studies included were conducted in the USA, Canada, Australia, and UK.
Results: The studies described a range of HE strategies, including nutrition education programs, food vouchers, and community gardens. Personal values and sense of pride and autonomy were found to have an influence on participants’ attitudes towards HE strategies. Similarly, social characteristics such as level of social support and opportunities for shared benefits influenced participants’ engagement. Structural characteristics such as the affordability and accessibility of healthy foods determined strategy acceptability and success.
Finally, organizational characteristics such as flexibility influenced how well strategies supported the circumstances of participants.
Conclusions: These overlapping characteristics may be used to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to improve healthy eating in SDPs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1942416
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2021


  • disadvantaged populations
  • healthy eating
  • interventions
  • low socioeconomic status
  • Meta-ethnography
  • qualitative review
  • qualitative synthesis
  • strategies


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