Time as a social and environmental determinant of health for rural women

Time as a social and environmental determinant of health for rural women

We are excited to have another paper published on the QCWA Country Kitchens program. This paper presents research that was led by the team at Central Queensland University or CQUniversity during March – June 2018.

The team travelled with the Country Kitchens Health Promoters (Nutritionists/Dietitians) to communities in the Maranoa and North Western Divisions of the QCWA. The participants and Branch Facilitators they met participated in the research project whilst also attending our Hands on Nutrition Workshops.

You can read more in the Journal of Health Education & Behaviour.

Authors: Wendy Madsen BA, MSc, GCFL, PhD, MPH (1)  Jenni Judd DHSc, MPH, MEd, DipHPE (1) Sue Williams PhD, GDHN, GCSN, BHSc (1)

Fiona McKenzie BSc (Biol/Health), GCHSM, GCHP, Cert IV WAT (2), Jay Deagon PhD, MEd, BEd (Secondary) (1)

Kate Ames BBus (Comn), GCTertiaryEd, MLitt(CultStud), PhD, Cert IV TAE (1)

(1) CQUniversity, (2) Queensland Country Women’s Association

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the QCWA Country Kitchen’s Nutritionists – Chloe Dyce, Alice Cameron and Connie Conyard – for engaging with the communities and helping facilitate this research.

Funding: CQUniversity Merit Grant.

Conflict of interest: The authors confirm there is no conflict of interest.


Background: Time insufficiency is frequently cited as a reason for poor dietary habits. This does not adequately explain the variations in how time is perceived as a factor in healthy eating.
Aims: This study placed the eating behaviours of rural Australian women within the contexts of their stories to understand the factors that influenced healthy eating and how rural communities could enhance their health and well-being.
Methods: A three-phase sequential multi-mode narrative inquiry was used within four communities in rural Queensland, Australia. Each phase used a different mode of data collection: photo elicitation focus groups; narrative interviews; participatory workshops. Data were thematically analysed iteratively to inform subsequent phases.
Results: Nine final themes were identified. This paper explored the theme of time and two contrasting perceptions of time sufficiency regarding healthy eating within a rural context during a drought.
Discussion: Exploration of “time as a commodity” and “time as a duty” allowed a deeper understanding of time as a social and environmental determinant of health.
Conclusion: Time’s influence on healthy eating is much more than the minutes it takes to prepare a meal. To fully appreciate its impact, time should be considered as a social and environmental determinant of health.

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