Effects of home cooking on health and socioeconomic determinants


Many dietary programmes presume that home cooking has a good impact on nutrition, health, and social outcomes, but data is mixed. We wanted to look at the health and social determinants of home cooking as well as the consequences. We defined home cooking as the actions required for creating hot or cold dishes at home, including combining, mixing, and often heating components, in the lack of a commonly accepted, established definition. As per the study Martin White relevant literature was found in 19 electronic databases. Peer-reviewed English-language studies that focused primarily on home cooking and included post-19th-century observational or qualitative data on people from high/very high human development index nations were included.

The determinants of home cooking were mapped to layers of influence, which included non-modifiable, individual, communal, and cultural elements. Female gender, higher time availability and work, tight personal ties, and culture and ethnic origin were all important drivers. The majority of the potential outcomes were at the individual level and centred on nutritional advantages. The findings demonstrate that determining factors of home cooking are more complex than merely knowing how to cook, and that potential favourable correlations between cooking, diet, and health need to be confirmed further. The use of cross-sectional research and the authors’ conceptualization of factors and outcomes limit current evidence.



A rapid review of the Australian and international literature was conducted with the goals of

a)summarising the evidence base on the social determinants of inequity in healthy eating, and 

b) identifying policies, regulations, programmes, services, and intervention projects that have been evaluated for their impact (or have significant potential to impact) in one or more of the three areas:

  1. Disparities in healthy eating and diet quality
  2. One or more social drivers of healthy eating inequities
  3. Healthy eating habits among the general public (i.e. without considering distributional effects).

This broad approach to the intervention literature search was intended to account for:

a) the general lack of evaluation evidence demonstrating the efficacy of interventions targeting social determinants of health; and

b) the lack of evaluation evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of interventions targeting the social determinants of health.

c) The difficulties in evaluating the impact of complicated population-level initiatives.

d) The reality that individual-level behaviours (such as eating and diet quality) have an impact on health outcomes; and that the majority of efforts to promote healthy eating have focused on whole foods.

Rather than addressing the social gradient or even gaps across social groupings, most populations focus on the individual.

The distributional impacts between social groupings have been explicitly measured in evaluations.

A variety of factors affect knowledge, beliefs, and actions over a lifetime, influencing diet quality. Within the timeframes of most evaluations, and over a sustained period, single interventions are unlikely to affect behaviour in a significant enough way to improve diet quality and diet-related health outcomes. As a result, ‘upstream’ outcomes such as changes in policies, services, and programmes, as well as changes in the type and quality of the food supply, as well as changes in knowledge, attitudes, and food purchasing behaviour, can be useful intermediate metrics. Applying an equality lens to treatments that did not overtly seek to improve health or did not provide equity outcome measures ensured that the assessment included a diverse range of potentially promising methods.

A complete systematic literature search was not possible due to the review’s large breadth and speed. Rather, at each level of the Framework, the focus was on providing a comprehensive review of the evidence base and practical, evidence-informed recommendations on treatments that have shown the most promise to date.

Context socioeconomic, political, and cultural


The system of values, policies, and institutions by which society manages economic, political, and social affairs through interaction within and among the state, civil society, and private sector; the mix of macroeconomic and social policies and priorities; and prevailing cultural and social norms and values make up the fundamental social determinants of health. This wide economical, political, and cultural framework impacts the distribution of power, wealth, and prestige within a society, altering diet quality and social distribution both directly and indirectly (Marmot et al., 2008, Gore and Kothari, 2012, Friel, 2009).



The definition of needs, citizen engagement, accountability and openness in public administration, and the laws, regulations, and practises that set limitations and offer incentives for individuals and organisations are all elements of a society’s governance and delivery systems. The degree to which policy, laws, services, and initiatives represent the demands and interests of all social groups is determined by the structure of this governing system. It also influences the amount to which each social group has a voice, as well as their ability to dispute and modify the distribution of conditions that affect their health and daily life.

In terms of healthy eating, Australia’s prevailing ideology – favouring limited government intervention in the market, industry self-regulation, and a focus on individuals’ health responsibility – has played a significant role in the private sector’s growing power and influence over public policy processes and decision-making affecting food supply and consumption. Despite little evidence of the effectiveness of self-regulation and the growing trends toward public-private partnerships in improving diets, the food industry is widely seen as “part of the solution” to unhealthy eating in Australia and internationally, despite little evidence of the effectiveness of self-regulation and the growing trends towards public-private partnerships in improving diets.

Food advertising influences food choices and purchasing habits, influencing the types of meals and dietary patterns that are acceptable and desired in various social groupings.
Unhealthy food and beverage marketing is now universally acknowledged to have a significant detrimental impact on food preferences, purchases, and dietary intake, and hence diet-related chronic disease risks, warranting preventive intervention. This evidence is especially strong for children and young people, who are disproportionately exposed to the marketing of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages and are particularly susceptible to marketing’s persuasive power.

Policies on macroeconomics and social issues


While policies that directly affect the food system have a definite role to play in changing diets, the function of policies that indirectly affect the food system is less evident.
fiscal policy, trade, labour, social welfare, land and housing, education, and health all have a role. Transportation, as well as other macroeconomic and social concerns, have received less attention. However, these broader policies, and the systems of governance and political priorities shaping them, play a critical role in shaping the conditions of people’s daily lives, and subsequently their ability to access and afford a healthy diet.

Health-related variables affecting individuals


Food choices are influenced by personal taste, attitudes, nutritional knowledge, peer influences, and the availability of food and nutrition-related information. Gender, educational achievement, work level, and occupational group all influence nutrition and food-related knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviours. Higher salaries and levels of education may have a favourable effect through increasing access to information, skills, household help, and social support, in addition to increasing money available for food buying. Social support for healthy eating, especially from a partner or other family members, has a big impact on food choices, and it varies by socioeconomic level, with lower-income Australians expressing less support. There is also evidence that modelling of healthy eating behaviours of family members

Dietary information and guidance come from a variety of places, including the government, the food business, the media, and family. It is vital to have access to trustworthy, consistent nutrition and health messaging, as well as an understanding of these messages.

Cooking skills and confidence are also vital in maintaining a balanced diet. A poll of Brisbane residents with low household income and poor education found that they had much less confidence in their ability to cook than their more socioeconomic counterparts and that this lack of confidence was linked to decreased household vegetable purchasing.

What influences individual dietary choices due to social aspects?


The impact that one or more people have on the eating habits of others, whether direct or indirect, conscious or subconscious, is referred to as social impacts on food consumption. Even when dining alone, social factors influence food choices since attitudes and habits are formed through social interaction.

According to studies, we eat more with our friends and family than when we eat alone, and the amount of food consumed increases as the number of diners increases.

The economics of food decision-making


Gender, age, culture, environment, social and community networks, individual lifestyle characteristics, and health behaviours all have a role in the association between low socioeconomic position and poor health.


According to population research, there are obvious disparities in dietary and nutrient intakes between social classes. Low-income populations, in particular, are more likely to eat imbalanced meals with low fruit and vegetable consumption. 3.

Depending on the age group, gender, and level of deprivation, this results in both under-nutrition (micronutrient deficiency) and over-nutrition (energy overconsumption resulting in overweight and obesity) among community members. In comparison to higher socioeconomic categories, the disadvantaged develop chronic diseases at a younger age; this is mainly determined by educational and employment levels.


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