Journal Article

Community involvement at what cost?—local appraisal of a pan-European nutrition promotion programme in low-income neighbourhoods

L. A. Kennedy

in Health Promotion International

Volume 16, issue 1, pages 35-45
Published in print March 2001 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online March 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/16.1.35
Community involvement at what cost?—local appraisal of a pan-European nutrition promotion programme in low-income neighbourhoods

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In the UK, government has committed itself to improving health and reducing inequalities in health. For the first time, issues such as food poverty will be addressed by tackling the causes of poverty and wider determinants of ill health. The time has never been better, therefore, for health and local authorities to work collaboratively to promote and improve health. Community involvement is also paramount to sustainable programmes. However, such a dramatic shift in policy and greater emphasis on public health requires health professionals themselves to adopt a different approach. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a health promotion approach as a framework for action. But despite the existence of this framework there is little evidence that a wider understanding of health promotion and the necessary practical experience has been achieved. This has weakened the potential impact of health promotion and has possibly encouraged inappropriate use of health promotion principles in practice. The European Food and Shopping Research Project (SUPER project) was established under the WHO European network of Healthy Cities to help local projects implement the principles of health promotion (WHO, 1986). This paper describes the SUPER project and its implementation in Liverpool (1989–1997), where levels of unemployment, deprivation and ill health are amongst the highest in the UK. Participation in SUPER is appraised to identify the various benefits and obstacles involved and to identify links with progress at the local level. This appraisal is discussed and the use, and potential misuse, of participatory appraisal techniques to elicit information and mobilize communities is examined.

Keywords: community involvement; dietary change; low-income neighbourhoods; rapid participatory appraisal

Journal Article.  5804 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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