Eating matters: environmental risks and dietary uncertainties in later life
Funded by: Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (I+D+i Project – Retos – Coordinated. Subproject 2. Code: PID2019-104253RB-C22).
The main objective of this coordinated project is to answer the challenges faced by Spanish society and its institutions as they attempt to achieve fairer, healthier and more sustainable food systems in a context that is far from being politically and socioeconomically stable a context where lifes precariousness is having an impact on the increase in social inequality and the worsening of living conditions for the more vulnerable populations. Our research falls within Challenge 6 of “Social Sciences, Humanities and Natural Sciences With and For Society” (and linked to Challenge 1, “Health, Demographic Change and Well-being”, and Challenge 2, “Food Quality and Safety”), and its main goal is to help drive social and economic policy to tackle ageing and demographic change, social exclusion and poverty, as well as to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Since an approach to food (in)security is only contemplated in a fragmented way in Spanish political and social agendas, wed like to propose a holistic approach to it in this study. This places at the centre of the debate the various forms of food insecurity that coexist today, their nature and scope, and in particular how they manifest themselves in one of the groups with the greatest demographic weight the elderly, a group which is also one of the most vulnerable. To the extent that this project focuses on economic and socio-cultural factors limiting people’s equitable access to one of the basic requirements for subsistence, we will analyse the unequal impact that the gender system has on various forms of food insecurity (accessibility and safety) and their effects on health. Specifically, Subproject 2 will examine those aspects of food itineraries that condition and/or determine whether the diet of older people is more or less healthy and environmentally sustainable, taking into account their diversity in terms of gender, social class, family structure and place of residence (rural/urban). The sustainability of diets, according to the 2030 Agenda SDGs, goes beyond ensuring the nutritional or biological safety of food, requiring that economic and socio-cultural aspects of food are improved in order to bring about a new food transition. In this sense, the aim is to analyse food practices that put the health of the elderly at risk when they don’t have access to safe food, in harmless conditions both nutritionally and environmentally. The project will also explore whether the absence of establishments with a diversity of affordable and healthy food in the living environment of the elderly increases these forms of food insecurity. Similarly, the aim is to analyse how the food risk and the uncertainties of PTS exposure are perceived, to the extent that the elderly are more vulnerable to possible harmful effects, compromising their chances to grow old in a healthy way. It will also examine social initiatives of citizen participation that promote healthier and more sustainable food practices, as well as alternative proposals to achieve food security alongside or independently of the agribusiness models. It will also compare how laypersons and experts perceive nutritional and environmental risks and uncertainties, looking at factors such as trust/distrust, attitudes towards and familiarity with food systems, while also exploring different forms of communicating and educating about food risks.
Research team: Cristina Larrea-Killinger (Chief Researcher), Jordi Gascón, Andrés Fontalba, Miguel Company, Andrés Fontalba, Maite Ojeda, Juan P. Arrébola, Araceli Muñoz, Maria Clara Moraes Prata Gaspar, Yaiza Pérez , Ursula Verthein, Patrícia Moreira Ferreira, Claudia Juzwiak.
For more information, visit the project website.
Vegetables for better aging: improving the quality of eating practices among elderly
Funded by: Fondation Louis Bonduelle.
Managed by: Fundació Bosch i Gimpera – Universitat de Barcelona.
Consortium: Observatori de l’Alimentació (ODELA – UB), MARC – URV, Fundació Pere Tarrés.
Given the growing life expectancy, aging issues are a critical factor in the social, political and public health landscape. Knowing the living conditions of the elderly is essential to design effective and social impact policies. In Barcelona, with a growing population of older people, there will probably be an increase in the demand for formal and informal food supply systems. According to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, access to healthy and sustainable food is a priority in maintaining the health and quality of life of the elderly.
Vegetables are not only fundamental products for a healthy diet, but also important elements of food cultures. In this perspective, the main goal of this project is to promote vegetable consumption and valorisation among elderly, through a participative and dialogical approach and taking into account nutritional, cultural and sustainable dimensions, in order to improve their health and well-being. The project seeks to understand how the elderly perceive vegetable products and healthy eating. In addition, the objective is to grasp what are the barriers identified by this population in order to be able to set up this type of food products and diet during daily life. This project also aims to know the ways of access and acquisition, selection, storage, preparation and consumption of vegetable foods among older people taking into account socio-demographic variables, as well as the impact of the increasing precariousness of daily life. Likewise, the project will analyse the offer of services that, aimed at the elderly, seeks to guarantee the right to food and what use this population make of them. It is a key objective of this study to know their needs and define how they can actively participate in their achievement.
The methodological approach will combine quantitative and qualitative techniques from a research-action-participation approach. This project seeks to be socially and ethically responsible and pursues the social impact of its results.
Research team: Cristina Larrea-Killinger (Chief Researcher), Mabel Gracia-Arnaiz, Montserrat Garcia, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar.
Reproductive health: expelling toxic compounds from our (new) lives.
Cofunded by the Barcelona City Council and the Food Observatory Association.
This project of reproductive health awareness is focused on the training and dissemination of knowledge about the reproductive health effects of environmental chemical contaminants present in food. In this sense, the target population of the project will be the health sector (pediatricians, midwives, nurses and gynecologists from CAPs and Barcelona hospitals) and the population of pregnant and lactating women residing in the city of Barcelona.
The main objective is to expand and improve the information on dietary advice with emphasis on the role of the risks of environmental pollutants in the phases of pregnancy, lactation and child feeding. Within the field of reproductive health, risks from exposure to environmental toxic compounds are not part of the current information protocols for pregnant and lactating women. Given the importance of these elements in the health of women and future generations, as well as the importance of reducing the level of contamination of the Barcelona population, this project aims to promote a series of awareness-raising and health promotion actions, as well as promoting a more responsible, sustainable, adequate and healthy food consumption.
This project has as its starting point the guide “Environmental chemical pollutants present in food: Recommendations guide for pregnant and lactating women” that was carried out with funding from the Barcelona City Council in 2017, published and available on the web http: // www .ub.edu / toxicbody / guide /. Although it was formally presented two years ago in various CAPs and hospitals in the city of Barcelona, as well as in hospitals in Malaga and Granada, we are currently unaware of the use and scope of this guide among healthcare personnel and pregnant and lactating women. For this reason, an evaluation of its use will be made through an online questionnaire, and an update of the guide taking into account the results of the questionnaire.
The project, therefore, also raises a socially feminized problem. For this reason, it is expected to make explicit both in the training and in the dissemination materials that it is a responsibility that does not fall solely on women, nor in the domestic sphere, but that the problem of PTC in food consumption is a social and political responsibility that involves everyone. To demonstrate the feminization of responsibility for the problem is a transversal objective of the project.
Research team: Cristina Larrea-Killinger (Chief Researcher), Juan Pedro Arrébola (Universidad de Granada), Ruth Echevarría (Universidad de Granada), Marta Ruiz, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar.
Eating in times of confinement: an ethnography of food practices during the COVID-19 crisis.
The confinement caused by the spread of COVID-19 experienced by the world population, in general, and Catalan society, in particular, entails new challenges and a reconsideration of the ways of being, existing and relating to each other. This unprecedented context is generating important changes for many of us in the various social practices and relationships that frame everyday life, both individually and collectively, at a micro and macrosocial level.
The act of eating, understood as a complex daily practice deeply interwoven with the symbolic, sociocultural, political and economic dimensions of social life, has become more than central in this context of health alarm, a practice in which new forms of consumption, care, reciprocity, affection, protection and uncertainties are materialized. On the one hand, the first theories of the origin of the virus attributed to zoonosis put Chinese food culture at the center of the debate. On the other hand, the empty shelves of supermarkets have marked the beginning of confinement and food purchases have ceased to be a simple everyday practice. Multiple food and dietary advices invade the most diverse newspapers and social networks, and the problem of flour and yeast shortage in food stores surprises us in a society of abundance. After all, much of our experience in times of coronavirus and confinement are related to eating practices.
Taking into account this context, ODELA, as a group dedicated to the study of food and health from a sociocultural perspective, has considered this period of great social, political, economic and health importance, and for this reason has decided to launch an exploratory study, within its research line “New trends in food consumption”, in order to understand how the context of confinement is affecting our eating practices and representations.
For this purpose, among other methodologies, we are circulating a small open questionnaire that aims to motivate reflection and invites people to share experiences, practices and emotions in relation to the act of eating during confinement.
Research team: Marta Ruiz, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar, Amanda Barba, Sarah Anadon, Cristina Larrea Killinger, Arantza Begueria.
From coexistence to cohabitation in the Torribera Food Campus: food sustainability and social action in Santa Coloma de Gramenet
Funded by Obra Social La Caixa (Code: AS19-00254).
This project wants to foster intercultural relationships and community development in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, bringing the Torribera Food Campus and the neighborhood community closer together, through the recognition and promotion of healthy eating and food sustainability.
Food is a gateway to foster social and intercultural relations, since “food practices are essential in the establishment and maintenance of human sociability, in personal exchange and reciprocity” (Contreras and Gracia, 2005). In addition, food practices can classify and rank people/groups, as the saying goes “we are what we eat”. Food serves as an element of social distinction, a fact that can serve to distance or approach intercultural realities. Food is, after all, a social tool for transformation and social construction.
At the same time, awareness of healthy eating and sustainability is a global issue and in which we all have to get involved as a society. Francesco Branca, director of the WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, points out the need for collaboration of all actors, including citizens.
The social, economic and cultural diversity of Santa Coloma and the Campus represents a potential to advance jointly and transversally in the right and intercultural recognition of healthy, sustainable and culturally adequate food, as well as to strengthen the fabric and social cohesion.
We propose that the knowledge taught on the Campus be possessed in the service of building a more just, equitable and sustainable society, at the same time that students are nourished by the social experience of their environment. A project of listening and mutual help in order to promote exchanges of knowledge and learning (popular, experiential, scientific) in spaces of equity.
The project aims to weave synergies between the communities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, offer spaces for community and training dialogue, create spaces for exchange and revitalization between groups with social and cultural plurality, promote awareness about the current food model and articulate responses that enhance healthy and sustainable eating.
Research team: Arantza Begueria, Patricia Messa, Margalida Mulet, Marta Ruiz, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar.
Local-based tourism and socio-ecological resilience.
Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Code CSO2017-84893-P).
Organization: Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla)
The objective is to study the socio-environmental effects of local-based tourism based on the theoretical-methodological framework of socio-ecological resilience. Seven cases are being studied ethnologically in Latin America and Spain. At the same time, it also implies a practical reflection on the usefulness of the socio-ecological resilience concept in the study of sustainability.
Barcelona as a tourist issuer. Impact on the Catalan rural area.
Funded by the Barcelona City Council.
Co-organization: Alba Sud, Xarxa de Consum Solidari y ODELA.
Research and public policy project on the impact that the city and the metropolitan area of Barcelona has on the surrounding territory in its use as a leisure space.
Perception of the risk of contamination by PTC through feeding in pregnant and lactating women: MUMFOOD study.
Funded by Servicio de Salud Andaluz de la Consejería de Salud (Code AP-0147-2017).
The project focuses on the study of trust/distrust in food consumption shown by the social actors concerned about the presence of toxic substances (Persistent Toxic Compounds, PTCs) and the responsibilities attributed to the potential long-term effects that these substances could produce on human health. The internal contamination that derives from the impact of these substances has important cultural, social, ideological and economic implications that this project aims to analyze in the universe of pregnant and breastfeeding women, a period of the life cycle in which food is a central issue on women’s health. From an ethnoepidemiological approach, the discourses and practices of pregnant and breastfeeding women will be studied on their daily context. The project aims to deepen into different levels of risk perception of internal contamination according to the role that women assign to toxic corporality in the process of construction of human health transmitted by the consumption of food during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The cultural diversity, culinary traditions, beliefs and values of women will be analyzed in two different contexts: rural-urban in the autonomous communities of Andalusia and Catalonia. Based on a quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic methodology at a comparative level, this research expects to obtain richer and deeper results on the sociocultural context of the limits of acceptance of risk, danger, confidence and distrust in food consumption.
Research team: Andrés Fontalba, Araceli Muñoz, Arantza Begueria, Cristina Larrea-Killinger,Jaume Mascaró, Juan Pedro Arrébola, Lina Casadó, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar, Mariena Rubio, Miguel Company (Chief Researcher), Montserrat Fábregas, Oscar García Algar, Virginia Gil Aguilar.
Estrategias y acciones para la reducción de las exclusiones de mujeres usuarias de
servicios asistenciales de alimentación.
Funded by the Barcelona City Council (18S03309-001).
Research team: Cristina Larrea-Killinger, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar, Úrsula Verthein.
Guia de recomanacions per a la inclusió de les dones als serveis assistencials d’alimentació.
MEDFEST: MED Culinary heritage experiences: how to create sustainable tourist destinations. ODELA – University of Barcelona. Funded by the European Union (Code: 1MED15_3.1_M12_263).
MEDFEST general objective is to create or improve existing strategies relating to sustainable tourism development within the traditional MED small-scale culinary sector. Main aim is to develop sustainable culinary experiences, primarily in rural costal hinterland as a powerful tool to promote “alternative” and sustainable tourist destinations in MED space. Sustainable culinary experiences are alternative tourist food-products that are traditional, respect the local environment and local producers and appeal to the visitors desire for authenticity.
The goal of sustainable tourist offer is not just to attract new visitors but also to increse economic activity in/during the off-season, promote social development of coastal „hinterland“ rural areas and safeguard culinary heritage and awaresess raising on the importance of local produce, processing and knowledge.
Objectives of the MEDFEST project:
1. To find linkages between culinary heritage and sustainable forms of tourism
2. To design new tourist offer in the coastal hinterland and bring sustainable development in off-season months
3. To integrate MED culinary experiences in existing plans and to safeguard it as part of a comon European heritage
For more information: https://medfest.interreg-med.eu.
Research team: Joan Ribas, Jesús Contreras, Oriol Beltrán, Ferran Estrada, Camila del Mármol , Margalida Mulet, Marta Ruiz Pascua, Maria Clara Prata Gaspar.
‘Food consumption and health: impact on maternal and child health of Persistent Toxic Compounds found in food’.
Funded by the Barcelona City Council (17S05083-001).
The project focuses on training and dissemination of information about persistent toxic compounds (PTC) in the health sector, aimed at paediatricians, midwifes, nurses and gynaecologists in primary care and hospital services. Its main goal is to broaden and improve the quality of information on nutrition, including the risks of environmental persistent chemicals during pregnancy, breastfeeding and child feeding, through three kinds of actions: a) training for health practitioners (seminars); b) analysing the discourses and practices of health practitioners regarding nutritional advice (qualitative research); c) production and dissemination of educational and training materials aimed at this sector (best practices guidelines, posters and website).
Research team: Cristina Larrea Killinger (Chief Researcher), Eva Zafra, Juan Pedro Arrébola, Esther Herrera, Araceli Muñoz, Lina Casadó, Miguel Company, Andrés Fontalba, Arantza Begueria, Montserrat Fábregas, Jaume Mascaró, Oscar García Algar, Maria Clara Prata Gaspar.
Research area: Toxic Body.
Malbaratament alimentari a Barcelona: desentranyant i difonent com es produeix. ODELA. Finançat por l’Ajuntament de Barcelona (Consum responsable – Codi 16SO4463-001). IP: Jordi Gascón. Membres del grup d’investigació: Jordi Gascón, Cristina Larrea, Joan Ribas, Carlota Solà.
Confianza y responsabilidad en el consumo alimentario de las mujeres embarazadas y lactantes en España: narrativas y etnografías sobre los riesgos de la contaminación interna por CTP.
Funded by: the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. (CSO2014-58144-P).
The project focuses on the study of trust/distrust attitudes shown by pregnant and breastfeeding women towards the presence of chemical compounds (Persistent Toxic Compounds) in food, and their assignment of responsibility for the potential long-term effects of these substances on human health. The internal pollution caused by such substances has major cultural, social, ideological and financial implications.
Social agents’ discourses and practices related to mother-and-child food consumption will be studied using an ethno-epidemiological approach. On the one hand, those of health practitioners (gynaecologists, paediatricians, nurses, midwifes, nutritionists, etc.) and other experts (dieticians, pharmacists, alternative therapists, mass media, websites, etc.), support networks (relatives, neighbours, friends, associations, etc.), and on the other hand, those of pregnant and breastfeeding women.
This study aims at taking a deeper look at the social perception of risks associated with synthetic chemical substances found in food and their risks for human health. It also examines the hazard criteria for food consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the dietary recommendations and guidance provided by health professionals, specialists, mass media, support networks or individual choices, as well as the variation of eating practices during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Explanatory models of the food process will also be studied: what food items are purchased, why certain items and not others, selection criteria, food preferences, avoidances and cravings, where they are bought, where they are prepared, where they are consumed, how they are kept fresh, what is shared, what is discarded.
In this study, the interplay of social, cultural, historical and financial factors in the shaping of food styles and preferences will be taken into account. Thus the project looks in more depth into the different levels of social perception of internal pollution risk, based on the role that the different social agents attribute to toxic corporeality in the construction process of human health and food. It takes into account social inequalities, cultural diversity, cooking traditions and ideological choices of women in both urban and rural contexts in two different Spanish regions: Catalonia and Andalusia. Using a comparative, qualitative and ethnographic methodology, this research hopes to yield more conclusive results on the sociocultural context of the limits to accepting risks and hazards, as well as trust and distrust in food consumption.
Research team: Cristina Larrea Killinger (Chief Researcher), Eva Zafra, Edda Marimón, Araceli Muñoz, Jaume Mascaró, Aina Palou, Lina Casadó, Montserrat Fábregas, Joan Pedro Arrébola, Miguel Company, Andrés Fontalba, Arantza Beguería, Esther Herrera.