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University study hopes to understand Aberdonian eating habits


North-east researchers are on the hunt for childless people aged 25-40 to take part in a new study into the importance of food on community life.

A team led by Robert Gordon University sociology lecturer Chris Yuill will initially focus on the Garthdee and Cults areas in Aberdeen.

They will examine residents’ relationship between city living and food, their meal choices, where they shop and what they buy, and who they eat with.

The research is aimed at building an all-round social and biological profile of each participant involving an interview, a 3D body scan and blood sample at the university’s Garthdee campus.

Research with the Garthdee and Cults communities is the first part of a broader study as the team hope to extend the model across the city and eventually cover other areas in Scotland and the UK.

Mr Yuill and the team also hope to assess the impact the siting of shops has on communities, as well as how convenience shopping and working patterns can affect daily routines.

He said: “What we’re trying to get at is that people’s eating choices are made in a context.

“Ultimately, our relationship with food is about wellbeing and that’s what we’re trying to look at.

“How does living in a modern Scottish city impact on the particular food choices that you make? If you live in a fast, demanding city how does that impact on how you live?

“It’s interesting in Aberdeen that the main supermarkets are located in specific areas.

“I’ve lived in Torry for most of my life and I remember in Victoria Road there used to be distinct shops for distinct things. There was a butcher, baker, vegetables – all gone now.

“What that created was a community. You’re not just buying stuff but you’re meeting people and there is good evidence to suggest the more integrated a community is the more healthy it is.

“This is just the beginning of something. We want to roll this out over the rest of Scotland and try and understand the health issues in different places.

“The ultimate aim is to try and influence policy on all sorts of areas – perhaps where shops are placed and the kind of shops available.”

For more information about RGU’s Food and the City study, and to participate, contact Sophie Spencer via e-mail at, or telephone 01224 263379.

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