Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Research Article

Intervening to change the diets of low-income women

Workshop on ‘Changing nutrition behaviour to improve maternal and fetal health’

on 4 July 2008, The 1st Summer Nutrition Workshop of the International Society for Developmental Origins of Adult Health and Disease, was held at the University of Nottingham, in association with the Nutrition Society, Physiological Society and Early Nutrition Academy.

Jennifer A. Daviesa1 c1, P. Damania2 and Barrie M. Margettsa3

a1 Nutrition and Dietetic Service, Southampton City Primary Care Trust and Southampton University Hospital Trust, Southampton, UK

a2 Equality and Human Rights, Southampton City Primary Care Trust, Southampton, UK

a3 Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK


Diet-related sources of ill health, including Fe-deficiency anaemia, are prevalent in the local South Asian population. This population also has a high prevalence of low-birth-weight babies. A need for preventative measures that take a holistic view to dietary change was identified in a South Asian community in Southampton, UK. A peer-led approach was used, training and developing a local workforce to become community food assistants. This workforce, drawn from local black and minority ethnic communities, ran practical ‘hands-on’ culturally-appropriate food-related activities within their communities that were successful in achieving long-term change in the diets of local women and their families. This model has the potential for achieving sustained behaviour change and is able to engage key target groups that can often be difficult to reach through more traditional routes.

(Online publication February 27 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Jennifer Davies, fax +44 2380 725624, email