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Health and Wellbeing

There are a number of factors that affect the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The World Health Organisation highlights that where we live, our environment, genetics, income, education level and relationships with friends and family all have considerable impacts on our health.

Our research uses consumer data to explore how the physical environment we live in influences our behaviours, and how this affects our health and wellbeing.

Identify the places in the UK where people are most likely to need support in accessing affordable food.

With so many people in the UK suffering from food insecurity and the cost of living crisis making that much worse, we need to do all that we can to support those most in need to access affordable, healthy and sustainable foods.

That is why we developed the Priority Places for Food Index in collaboration with Which?

Our interactive map makes it easy to identify neighbourhoods most in need of support and highlights the main reasons that they need this support, recognising that one size does not fit all and that tailored help is required.

The index was used by Which? as part of their Affordable Food For All campaign. CDRC and Which? are working together to engage with the food industry and policy makers to help them use the tool to help our communities, both nationally and locally.

Encouraging Healthy and Sustainable Diets through Cross-Sectoral Partnerships

The complexity, breadth and depth of food system research mean that cross sectoral partnerships are essential to facilitate research that can drive change, however it also means that focused discussions can be challenging.

We brought together representatives from a variety of disciplines and functions at the University of Leeds, industry, the charity sector and local government to better understand what makes a good partnership for research across the food system and are sharing our findings.

Highlighting implementation challenges of plans to restrict point-of-sale promotions 

New plans to restrict point-of-sale promotions of less healthy foods and drinks in England aim to encourage healthier choices. With responsibility for implementation of restrictions likely to fall to food retailers, it is important to understand the challenges they face in order to ensure policy success. 

Researchers from the CDRC applied the rules in the proposal to a database containing 45,000 food and drink products and found the data available to retailers were insufficient to apply the rules set out by the policy proposal.

Helping local authorities to prioritise food outlet inspections 

An estimated 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness occur each year in the UK and 60% of these are thought to be contracted whilst eating outside the home.  In recent years, the number of food outlets has increased by nearly 30%, such that 43% of the population now purchase food from a restaurant or take-away at least once a week.  
Despite these changes, local authority expenditure on food hygiene and food control has reduced. Many local authorities struggle to undertake the required number of food outlet inspections, leaving unsafe food practices and unsafe environments unchecked, increasing the risk to the consumer. 
CDRC researcher, Rachel Oldroyd, has developed a model which can identify non-compliant food outlets in 85% of cases, providing an effective way for local authorities to inform prioritisation of food outlet inspections. 

What does supermarket loyalty card data reveal about food purchase behaviours?

Supermarkets gather loyalty card data for marketing purposes but these novel data sources offer great potential for research and policy making.

This project, in partnership with Sainsbury’s, explore the use of transaction data to understand the food purchasing behaviours of our population.

Could loyalty cards improve our public health? LifeInfo Survey

The use of supermarket loyalty cards and mobile phone apps tracking diet or exercise are increasingly pervasive. Not only do they provide a useful service for the user but they also gather information about the habits of individuals.

What if all that data could also be used to feed into public health research that could improve the overall health of the community?

The LifeInfo survey, led by CDRC’s Dr Michelle Morris in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, surveyed 10,000 people about the types of loyalty card or apps they use, and their thoughts on allowing health researchers to access this information and link it with their health records, in the future.

Unsafe inhaler prescribing, social demographics, and the COVID-19 lockdown

Panic prescribing of inhalers at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 meant that suppliers started running out of stock for specific brands of inhalers, causing a potential risk for asthma/COPD patients.

In this project, we used a data-driven approach to explore inhaler prescription patterns using data from Open Prescribing.

A classification for English Primary Schools using open data

CDRC researchers developed a new classification for English primary schools to encourage better collaboration and enable more nuanced benchmarking.

The Obesity Network – uniting expertise to inform positive change

Overweight and obesity persist in the UK and place both personal and economic strain on society. The Obesity Network united experts from all over the UK, and beyond, from a range of disciplines in academia, retail, local government and charities to explore and generate ideas to make best use of the wealth of data to inform positive change.

Can changing school admissions systems improve educational equality in the UK?

Every September a new cohort of students move from primary to secondary school, however, in Bradford and across the country, many students are not offered a place at one of their preference schools.

The aim of this project was to understand whether the school admissions system favours some groups more than others, producing inequality.

Working together to tackle health inequalities and improve the health of the public – SIPHER Consortium

The conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age are key drivers of health and health inequalities. Our researchers are working as part of the SIPHER consortium to deliver novel evidence of the costs and benefits of policy decisions across many related sectors, such as welfare, housing, education and employment.

Classifying consumer vulnerability in the UK

Some consumers are more vulnerable to marketing practices due to their personal traits such as age, health or household arrangements.

Utilising data from the Consumer Data Research Centre researchers developed a geodemographic classification of consumer vulnerability at output area level.