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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Eat better, live better under our living cost crisis


Under the current cost of living and winter flu with added covid concern season, many are struggling to eat well and keep healthy.  It is a challenge for policy makers as well as every-day persons.   This application proposes to carry out a feasibility study using a bottom-up approach to give practical cooking and latest evidence-based nutrition device to enable those most in need to eat better, live better on a reduced budget. Food advice can be complex and confusing, many live on cheap, ultra-processed food without realising it is the very food that have detrimental effects on their long-term health. As the population is living long and arguably getting sicker, NHS is under ever increasing pressure, and preventing and delaying the onset of long-term conditions are suggested as a way forward.

What does the literature tell us?

Health disparities can be defined as “systematic, plausibly avoidable health differences adversely

affecting socially disadvantaged groups” (Bravemen et al., 2011). Existing literature (such as Williams, 1999) suggests that the health disparities are more likely determined by the socioeconomic Status than by the race and ethnicity.  Researchers from public health suggest addressing the health disparities by providing intervention to change the social environment/context. By doing so health disparities can be reduced by changing of policy and practice (Adler, 2009).  

What can be done?

NHS calls for the actions on the cost-of-living crisis for communities ( By November 2022, the inflation rate is at 11.1%  with the food and non-alcohol drink prices increase by 16.4%, the highest rate since 1977 ( 

To answer the calls from government and NHS, we propose this intervention project “eat better, live better under our living cost crisis” to engage people in potential health disparity groups to empower them thrive in the living cost crisis. The project has three folds of purposes: 1. Provide nutrition information to the individuals to educate them about health diet, and motivate them adapt health behaviour 2. Provide practice cooking advice to individuals and encourage them maintain the health diet and health behaviour at budget during the living crisis; 3. Provide policy evidence to suggest that the behaviour change with the access of resources and information could be a quick way to reduce the disparities in the communities.


What is expected outcome? By engaging and interacting with the low income group and health condition group, we expect to uncover some insight on the impact of cost of living on the most vulnerable, and the extent of possible health disparity among them. The interaction with faith group and women’s group would provide us with further opportunities to explore health disparities among various community groups.  Workshop and coaching on nutrition are planned (see details in milestone).  Simple questionnaires will be collected before the workshop and again 4-6 weeks after the workshop or coaching to explore the effectiveness of intervention.  It serves as a base as the study evaluation and possible personal stories that may emerge from the intervention which may have implication for local government policies (i.e. Southampton City Council, Bath City Council) and the general public.

Both applicants have some engagement with the proposed groups already.  Sharon is a member of Southampton Diabetes Group, part of the Diabetes UK, Zhifeing is a member of Women’s Institute Group in Bath.

Role of Partner Organisations

Engaging partner groups for participants of the research, outcome dissemination and discussion.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities; SDG17 - Partnerships For the Goals; SDG3 - Good Health and Well-Being; SDG1 - No Poverty.

Project Members

Project Lead: (Sharon) Xiaowen Lin

Co-Project Lead: Zhifeng Chen


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