Food and reform

Many of those suffering from poor mental health are forced to the margins of society – excluded children, prisoners and ex-offenders, the homeless, revolving door mental health service users, substance misusers.

In prisons, with limited physical exercise opportunity, a net energy intake can result in obesity, with related diseases e.g heart disease, type 2 diabetes. Improving the diet of the prison population, will help reduce obesity and related disease.

Additionally, evidence supports the idea that improving prison diets can help improve mood and behaviour within the prison population . This population demonstrates a high prevalence of mental health problems with a reported 72% of male prisoners having two or more mental disorders .

The Food and Reform project has at its core the principle that knowledge is power. The programme is run in prisons to address health and wellbeing issues amongst the prison population.

Food Matters Inside and OutFood Matters Inside & Out

The current project being run as part of our Food and Reform strand of work is Food Matters Inside & Out and addresses the various aspects necessary for creating a healthy eating environment by:

  • Running participatory healthy eating workshops for selected groups of prisoners to increase their knowledge and confidence in making healthier choices
  • Creating peer mentors to support other prisoners in making healthy choices
  • Training selected members of staff
  • Providing guidance and advice to catering and food procurement services

We have been running Food Matters Inside and Out in HMP High Down since Autumn 2017 and we’ve previously run it in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Send.

“I think the course should be made mandatory as it would help inmates be fully aware of the choices they are making when it comes to their diet”
– FMIO participant
“The two ladies that run the course have good ideas to make the canteen a lot healthier without too much too much adjustment”
– FMIO participant

Contact victoria@foodmatters.org for more information.

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