How theory can help to understand the potential impact of food environment policies on socioeconomic inequalities in diet: an application of Bourdieu's capital theory and the scarcity theory.

Last updated on 12-12-2022 by Stefanie Vandevijvere

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Peer reviewed scientific article


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Government policies that promote healthy food environments are considered promising to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in diet. Empirical evidence of effects on these inequalities, however, is relatively scarce and, with a few exceptions, tends to be inconclusive. We use two contemporary theories that help to understand socioeconomic inequalities in health and health-related behaviours (Bourdieu’s capital theory and Mullainathan and Shafir’s scarcity theory) to reason how policies influencing food environments may differentially impact lower and higher socioeconomic groups. In essence, th…

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