Interview and Probe about the association between environment and obesity & healthy living

Blog Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

Written by Hyunjoung You

 

I have conducted the interview about obesity & healthy living to my specific issue to my interviewee in the class. There are five findings from this primary research.

 

1.  Interesting issue about obesity & healthy living

The interviewee was more interested in right diet than other issues that are related to obesity and healthy living. She thought that people do not have enough knowledge what diet is good for their health and preventing from being obese. Therefore, she believed the early education is important so people can use to have proper diets.

Through her answer, I realized people were aware of the importance of right diet. However, there are no opportunities that people learn which diet is better properly. I thought children education would be helpful to solve future problem is being obesity to children.

 

2. Major contributors of obesity & healthy living

Modern culture & busy life

The interviewee said it is one of major contributors to obesity & healthy living. Many people do not have time to do exercise, and cook at home. Today people prefer eating outside or buying takeaway food due to convenience. Also, some people pursue their convenience too much; even though the distance is short, some people choose driving car rather than taking walk.

Advertisement industry

The interviewee talked about food advertisement as well. She could see lots of soft drink like Coca Cola or junk food ads, but it is hard to find the advertisements for alcohol, soft drink or food by healthy companies.

Education

She pointed out the lack of education about right diet in childhood. Children education is important to prevent from being obesity. She believed that eating habit could make people being healthier or not.

Three contributors that the interviewee came up with obesity & healthy living were all appropriate. Besides, I found three of them are related to my issue. It seems like busy life tend to make people living sedentary lifestyle. In addition, the environment they live in has more unhealthy food shops than healthier food shops. Therefore, it might bring about a limited choice of diets to people.

 

3. Active urban design prevents obesity or not

My interviewee was not sure if active urban design could prevent obesity. However, she was certain that it could help public health in general; more green spaces and better recreational areas can encourage people to exercise more. She also gave me the example that is dedicated urban bicycle lanes are really helpful for people who are thinking about cycling especially in Australia, as it can be dangerous to cycle on roads. Additional parks and green spaces are also good for promoting the community to do physical activities.

My interview has a broad understanding of the association between our environment and public health. This shows how our environment impacts on our health.

 

4. The possible opposition to active urban design

The interviewee thought there would probably be opposing views of creating active urban design since everyone would always have different opinions. However, she did not think that the disagreement was based on whether or not they wanted to have health promoting urban design. The disagreement might be going to be about what kinds of urban design in specific that is needed in the area. She said there would be concerns, for example, do we want to build a cool playground for kids or build a public gym? She was sure this was the type of opposing opinion happened all the time.

I realized that I overlooked the thing that my interviewee pointed out. It was nice time to think about other issues about this solution.

 

5. The ideas for preventing obesity

She mentioned about children education again, but she thought urban design and children education could be connected. For example, growing plants or fruit by children in specific areas to help them have right diets.

I thought it was good idea combining both ideas together. Hence, children can be familiar to eating vegetables and healthy food, and some parts of urban design create by public.

 

Probe

After the interview, due to my issue that I have looked at so far is about the association between environment and obesity & healthy living. Therefore, I wondered the environment around her in particular to food industry. I asked she usually cook at home or not, and then, she said that she normally ate food outside. Therefore, I asked her to capture the map of her place to see what kinds of food industry are located in.

map from r.png
The map around building 6 and interviewee’s house (http://maps.uts.edu.au/map.cfm)

 

This image was from my interviewee, and she put the red lines on the place where she normally went to eat. She also mentioned there are some missing shops like KFC, sushi shop, and lots of takeaway food shops between building 6 and central station such as Thai, Chinese, and sandwich shop, and so on. She lives in UTS accommodation that is why she usually has food around there. She added there are not much healthy food shops compares to sugary or junk food shops; therefore, she does not have many choices to choose healthier foods.

Through this probe, even though I looked at the food environment of small area, I could find that many people are already exposed to those kinds of food industry. The way to prevent it is only a change of our environment for people. We need to choose healthier choices easily in our environment, and it can be happened by our acts. It might be one of our responsibilities; everyone should be aware of it, and act now.

After primary research, I could see what is difference between primary research and secondary research. When I used secondary research to write previous blog posts, secondary research includes existing research, and involves analysis or literature reviews. However, primary research, especially conducting interview and probe by one person was personal. Thus, I could get diverse perspectives of the issue by different people; they have different opinions and ideas, so it is really helpful to come up with the thoughts that I could not have.