Consumption and Health

By focusing on the relationship between consumption and health over the life course, our mission is to develop new multidisciplinary collaborations capable of producing international quality research and impact.

Person pouring coca cola


The aim of this workstream is to focus on the relationship between consumption and health over the life course. Our mission is to develop new multidisciplinary collaborations capable of producing international quality research and impact, and so contribute substantially to HELSI’s vision. 

We will examine the relationship between consumption and health through the following series of themes and cross-cutting ideas.

  • The commercial determinants of health/ill health
  • Inequalities, consumption and health/wellbeing across the lifecourse
  • Policy and consumption
  • Food and sustainability, health and consumption


We work across a series of interlocking themes of underlying theory and methodology. Largely, but not limited to:

  • Social practice theory
  • Social determinants of health
  • Ableism/disablism
  • Behaviour change as a ‘social fact’
  • Micro-simulation and modelling from secondary datasets
  • Co-production, participatory approaches, and disability and D/deaf research methodologies


We have expertise in:

  • The use of large datasets - including the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), US Health and Retirement Study (HRS), American Hospital Association, Understanding Society: Waves 1-11, 2009-2020 and Harmonised BHPS: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009, Market research datasets involving brand level information
  • Co-production - we have teams of researchers who are working with local government, charities and a range of participants using co-production.
  • Public Health - our team includes expertise in Epidemiology, policy analysis, trend analysis and evaluation methodologies.
  • Applied Economics - marginal propensity to consume by age, health and income, microsimulation, cost-effectiveness analysis
  • GIS - mapping - advertising across the city of Sheffield (gambling, alcohol).
  • Quantitative methods - SEM, Surveys, Economics.
  • Microsimulation
  • Natural language processing
  • Qualitative methodologies - ethnography, visual methods, interviews
  • Critical disability studies - understanding ableism and disablism.
  • Policy evaluation and appraisal - including both retrospective and prospective analyses of enacted and hypothetical interventions. 

Our staff have experience working with commercial and private sector organisations, health service professionals, charities, local and national government.

Staff and PhD students

Key publications

  • Liddiard, K., Whitney, S. Watts, L., Evans, K. Vogelmann, E., Spurr, R., Runswick-Cole, K. and Goodley, D. (2022) Living Life to the Fullest: Disability, Youth and Voice. Emerald
  • Martin, P., de Saille, S., Liddiard, K. and Pearce, W. (2022) Being Human During COVID-19. Bristol: Bristol University Press
  • Goodley, D., Lawthom, R., Liddiard, K. and Runswick-Cole, K. (accepted) ‘Affect, dis/ability and the pandemic’, Sociology of Health and Illness (SHI) Special issue ‘New Dialogues Between Medical Sociology and Disability Studies’
  • Meier PS, Warde A, Holmes J (2017) ‘All drinking is not equal: how a social practice theory lens could enhance public health research on alcohol and other health behaviours‘, Addiction, 113 (2), pp.206-13. 
  • Holmes, J., Meng, Y., Meier, PS., Brennan, A., Angus, C., Campbell-Burton, A., Guo, Y., Hill-McManus, D., and Purshouse, RC. (2014) ‘Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on different income and socioeconomic groups: a modelling study‘, The Lancet, 383 (9929), 1655-64.
  • Holmes, J., Fairbrother, H., Livingstone, M., Meier, P., Oldham, M., Pennay, A., Whitaker, V.  (2022)  Youth drinking in decline: What are the implications for public health, public policy and public debate? Addiction. DOI:
  • Holmes J, Ally AK, Meier PS, Pryce R (2019) ‘The collectivity of British alcohol consumption trends across different temporal processes: A quantile age‐period‐cohort analysis‘, Addiction, 114 (11), pp.1970-80.
  • Williams, R., Weiner, K., Henwood, F. & Will, C. (2020) Constituting practices, shaping markets: remaking healthy living through commercial promotion of blood pressure monitors and scales, Critical Public Health, 30, 1, 28-40.
  • Weiner, K.  and Will, C. (2018) Thinking with care infrastructures: people, devices and the home in home blood pressure monitoring. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40, 2, 270-282
  • Weiner, K. & Will, C. (2015), Materiality matters: blurred boundaries and the domestication of functional foods. BioSocieties 10, 194–212
  • Will, C. & Weiner, K. (2015), The drugs don't sell: DIY heart health and the over-the-counter statin experience. Social Science and Medicine, 131, 280-288.
  • Will, C. & Weiner, K. (2014), Sustained multiplicity in everyday cholesterol reduction: repertoires and practices in talk about ‘healthy living’, Sociology of Health & Illness 36, 2, 291-304.
  • Weiner, K. (2011) The subject of functional foods: accounts of consuming foods containing phytosterols, Sociological Research Online, 16, 2, 7.
  • Weiner, K. (2010) Configuring users of cholesterol lowering foods: a review of biomedical discourse, Social Science and Medicine, 71, 9, 1541-1547.

Case Study

Tracking ourselves? - a research project exploring the everyday practices of people who undertake self-monitoring using devices acquired independently of health professionals

House of Tracking - an interactive web tool that showcases some of the key findings from the tracking ourselves research project.