This paper explores various aspects of women’s health relating to food. These include the impacts of nutritional deficiency, the links between nutrition and chronic disease and women’s food-related behaviours. Gender itself is a key structural determinant of women’s health and inequality, playing out in women’s roles in relation to food, in psychosocial health and the socio-economic factors that impact on access to nutritious food.
Controversy exists in public health and health promotion about the approach and key messages that should be adopted in relation to food-related behaviours and body size to promote ‘health’ and prevent illness for women. This paper outlines various perspectives in this discourse and highlights principles and recommendations for designing health promotion programs and managing the risks of public health messages.