Understanding the local food environment: A participatory photovoice project in a low-income area in Madrid, Spain

Julia Díez, Paloma Conde, María Sandin, María Urtasun, Remedios López, José Luis Carrero, Joel Gittelsohn, Manuel Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a need to partner between researchers, practitioners and residents to increase our understanding of environmental influences on dietary behaviors. We used the participatory method of Photovoice to understand key determinants of the local food environment influencing residents' diets. This project was conducted in Villaverde, a low-income area located in Madrid, Spain. From February to May 2015, 24 residents working in four Photovoice groups, took photographs related to their local food environment. Each group analyzed and critically discussed their photographs in small group sessions. Through a consensus-building process, participants identified 30 emerging categories, which followed five conceptual themes related to their food environment: 1) eating in moderation, 2) cultural diversity, 3) food stores, 4) social relationships and 5) economic crisis and poverty. Participants, researchers and practitioners successfully collaborated in analyzing, writing, disseminating the project results, and directly informing local policy-makers, media, and other residents. The project results may guide community-generated interventions for promoting a healthier food environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Food environment
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Photovoice
  • Spain
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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