Photo above: A cooking stove in northern Thailand. Photo credit: Patthanan Thavethanutthanawin.
Using the concept of “activity spaces”, this project will develop a metric titled "The index of household exclusion from external food environments (EFE)" to assess how households interact with their EFE and the extent to which they participate in, or are excluded from, their EFE. The following research will take place:
- The project will map the activity spaces of individuals using wearable accelerometers and GPS devices, and link these activity spaces to food acquisition behaviour within their EFE.
- The community level EFE will also be mapped by identifying all elements of the EFE that are relevant to the respondent households.
- The activity spaces that households occupy in relation to the EFE may be constrained by their socio-demographic characteristics and endowments and by food preferences and social and cultural norms. The mapping of activity spaces will also capture the variation in activity spaces over seasons and by gender.
- The index of household exclusion from EFE, derived from the analysis of activity spaces, will be linked to nutritional outcomes by collection of dietary intake data from the same respondents whose activity spaces are mapped.
The main contribution of the index of household exclusion will be to provide a pathway from the community level EFE to the observed dietary patterns of households and will highlight inequalities of access within a community. This is particularly relevant in fragile settings where access constraints are persistent. The underlying premise in the development of this index is that patterns of utilisation of EFEs derived from mapping of activity spaces will show a stronger association with observed dietary diversity and nutritional adequacy than static community level EFE indicators. Identifying the determinants or factors that shape households’ interaction with the EFE can provide insights to policy makers for shaping the development and regulation of EFEs to mitigate access constraints and promote healthier diets.