About this event

  • Date and time Fri 2 Jun 2023 from 10:00am to 5:15pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Food and Health

With almost a quarter of state-funded school children now eligible for free school meals, use of food banks at unprecedented levels, and many households facing ‘heat or eat’ economic choices, many families may be unable to access a diet that is adequate to support health and development. This is especially concerning for children; although, with life expectancy already falling in more deprived areas of the country for the first time on record, the health of many age groups could be adversely affected.

Expert speakers from health professions, academia and charities will inform you of the latest evidence on the extent of food insecurity and dietary inequality in the UK, the relationships with national and international food policies, and the likely impacts on health. This event will equip you with an awareness of the issues and possible solutions so that you can detect and act on dietary inequalities on behalf of your patients and clients.

By attending, you will: 

  • Be made aware of how food insecurity affects health inequalities 
  • Understand national and international policies, systems and approaches to addressing food insecurity 
  • Recognise the challenges posed by food insecurity to health and well-being at the individual and household level 
  • Gain knowledge of how third-sector organisations and local government support households experiencing food insecurity 
  • Understand ways to support children and families affected by dietary inequalities 

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Key speakers

Dr Rachel Loopstra

Dr Rachel Loopstra

Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Liverpool 

Speaker's biography

Rachel Loopstra completed her PhD in
Nutritional Sciences at the University of
Toronto, Canada, before moving to the UK for a
postdoctoral position in the Department of
Sociology at the University of Oxford in 2014. In
2016, she joined the Nutritional Sciences
department at King’s College London as
Lecturer, and last year, joined the Department
of Public Health, Policy and Systems at the
University of Liverpool as a Senior Lecturer in
Public Health. Her research predominantly
focuses on drivers of household food insecurity
and food bank use in high-income countries
and the impacts of welfare policies on these
outcomes. Another focus is on community food
systems - how they operate, who they serve,
their effectiveness and their place within wider
food and welfare systems.


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr Leigh Gibson, President, Food and Health Section, Royal Society of Medicine, Reader in Biopsychology, University of Roehampton

Session 1

Chair: Professor Greta Defeyter, Professor in Developmental Psychology and Director of the Healthy Living Lab, Northumbria University

Why does poverty lead to a poor diet?

Professor Christina Vogel, Centre for Food Policy, City University

Food insecurity and diet inequalities in Britain 2022 and what we should do to tackle it

Dr Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation

Panel discussion
Comfort break
Food insecurity and health outcomes: How to spot it and how to help

Professor Greta Defeyter

Removing the blinkers: A paediatrician’s journey in understanding the causes of poor health

Dr Mike McKean, Consultant in Respiratory Paediatrics, Great North Children's Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust

Panel discussion
Lunch break

Session 2

Chair: Dr Leigh Gibson, President, Food and Health Section, Royal Society of Medicine, Reader in Biopsychology, University of Roehampton

From lifeline to life-changing: The future of community food provision

Mr Andrew Forsey, National Director, Feeding Britain

Social shocks and school meals: Sustaining child development through economic crises

Professor Donald Bundy, Professor of Epidemiology and Development, Director of the Research Consortium for School Health and Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Panel discussion
Comfort break
The role of income protection policies during economic crisis for food insecurity

Dr Rachel Loopstra, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Liverpool  

A global food security crisis: Why most food strategies are misguided

Professor Michael Crawford, Visiting Professor, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Imperial College London

Panel discussion
Closing remarks

Dr Leigh Gibson

Close of meeting



Registration for this event will close at 1:00am on Thursday 1 June 2023. Late registrations will not be accepted.

The agenda is subject to change at any time.

We are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. This is at the presenter and the RSM’s discretion. 

All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations. 

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels. 

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