Adapting to financial pressure on household food budgets in Denmark: Associations with life satisfaction and dietary health

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In countries with wide income differentials, food insecurity leads to substantial changes in everyday food practices and to poor dietary and mental health. Less is known about consequences of food budget pressure in affluent populations and in social-democratic welfare societies with narrower income differentials. This paper describes relations between pressure on household food budgets and demographic factors in Denmark. It asks how budgetary constraint relates to life satisfaction and dietary health and how these relationships are affected when people adapt their food practices to manage pressure on budgets. Data from a representative 2015 survey of Danish households are employed. Levels of food budget pressure vary with income and household composition and are negatively associated with life satisfaction and dietary health. We find a sequence of food practice adaptations where changes in food quality and hospitality, and seeking external help were being made when adjustments to food provisioning and kitchen practices were proving to be insufficient. We conclude that in affluent social-democratic welfare societies pressure on food budgets also has negative impacts on life satisfaction and health. Food budget pressure should be monitored in the future and addressed in public health policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)191-208
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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