Put stories in context

We can add context to individual stories to show how surroundings help or harm our ability to be healthy. To make sure that our stories aren’t dismissed as the result of bad choices. And to explain why ending childhood obesity requires us to fix social systems and conditions – not people.

Not like this:

“It’s a real struggle for me to keep my family healthy nowadays. It’s hard to find healthy food at my local store, and I have to pick what works with our lifestyles – which usually means quick, cheap and filling. I do try to choose low-fat, low-sugar things where I can. And I know we all need to cut down on our takeaway treats – but they’re right there, every time I walk home from work!”

Like this:

“Like a lot of families in my neighbourhood, it can be a struggle to put healthy food on the table. The nearest big supermarket is two bus rides away. I work long hours, and look after my mum and my two boys. Compare that to the high street – there’s a flood of fast food places, and takeaways with gigantic portions everywhere you look. Fast food is cheap, it’s filling, and I can pick some up on my way home. Everyone is finding it harder to be healthy here – the healthy options just aren’t there.”

A few phrases that bring in context:

Like a lot of [working parents / people in [city] / etc], I…This support system should be for everyone who needs it[Problem] is widespread
So many parents in this community are affected by [x]…restricted my optionsWe shouldn’t be up against a tide of unhealthy food
…cut down on my / our optionsWe can all act to make sure this doesn’t happen againNot everyone in [location] has access to this support
I have support from [x]This affects / affected more than just me and my childrenI didn’t have any options
In [location], it’s harder for young people to be healthyIn my community…My options were taken away / given back when…

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