Name: Mary-Beth Craddock
Student Number: n5058554
Tutor: Steven Badman

"You Are What You Eat"How the foods Bogan’s are consuming is effecting their health and public health overall.

The Artefact

Boganmania. (2011, March 28). Remastered: The Bogan Show - Intake Part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

This YouTube video is a short episode of the 'Bogan Show' produced by and presented by two men called Gaz and Matto. The clip starts out with a backdrop of junk food including Freddo Frogs, hot chips, burgers, Chiko rolls, Hungry Jacks, McDonalds, etc. After tossing an apple to the ground in disgust, the presenters then interview people from the community about what food they think Bogans would eat. The interviewees conclude that they think Bogans eat foods that are quick and easy such as take away food, any fast food they can get their hands on and that fills them up, greasy foods, very yellow or orange foods served in a cardboard packet. As one men says in his interview “if you’re a greasy bloke like me, you probably know better, but if you don’t have a women there throwing salad down your gut, you’re just a greasy man”. This video depicts these eating behaviours as occurring in cultural groups such as ‘Bogans’ who typically reside in low socioeconomic areas and who are low to middle working class or unemployed (Brown & Brown, 2005).

The Public Health Issue
The foods ‘Bogans’ are consuming are effecting their health. The health risks associated with eating junk food are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. These health risks are placing a large strain on our public healthcare systems. The home used to be the heart of passing on food culture that made our society, however now, children are not taught how to cook home meals anymore and they turn to modern day fast foods such as McDonalds, processed foods.

It's gone from this...................
Family from the 1950's.jpg and this..........Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.jpg

To this.....................................

Family eating McDonalds.jpeg and this..........Girl eating McDonalds.jpg and this Junk Food.jpg

Expenditure on meals out and fast food was the highest single component with households spending on average $42 on such food per week (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012).

Literature Review

Overtime, there has been research looking at the link between social class and unhealthy food consumption. This is an important issue as expenditure on meals out and fast food was the highest single component with households spending on average $42 on such food per week (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). It is these individuals of low socioeconomic position who are particularly at risk of consuming diets that are less than optimal, including fewer vegetables, fruits and high fibre foods, and more high-fat foods than their counterparts of higher socio economic positioning (Ball, Timperio & Crawford, 2009). Studies have shown that many adolescents have diets that are less than optimal, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. For example, adolescents of lower socioeconomic position tend to consume fewer vegetables, fruits, dairy and high fibre foods and more high fat foods. Most of this is said to be from the home food environments where there is fewer eating rules and poorer availability of fruits and vegetables (MacFarlane, Crawford, Ball, Savige, & Worsley, 2007). According to the World Health Organization (2011), low fruit and vegetable consumption is among the top ten risk factors contributing to global mortality. In 2003, low fruit and vegetable consumption was estimated to be responsible for 2.1% of the total burden of disease in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, 2003). Environmental and economic factors may affect people's consumption of fruit and vegetables, while factors such as physical activity, other food choices, smoking, and alcohol consumption can modify the health impact of fruit and vegetables for better or worse (Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, 2000).

Income status also plays are contributing role to unhealthy diets. Writer (2009) found that higher quality diets were not only more costly per 2000 kcal but were associated with higher household incomes and education of participants being studied. Marshall, Kennedy and Offutt (2002) also hypothesised that poor people spend a greater proportion of their income on food than rich people, they are likely to be more sensitive to price changes and they are at higher risk of ischaemic heart disease.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) have outlined that in 2009, the leading cause of death for all Australians was ischaemic heart disease, which includes angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks. Malhotra's (1973) study hypothesises that dietary factors play a crucial part in Ischaemic heart disease which suggests this disease is a preventable one. The second leading cause of death in Australia remained to be Cerebrovascular disease (strokes).

causes of Death in Aus.png
(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012)

Overweight and obesity can also have serious implications for the health sector in terms of cost and burden on services. The health consequences are many and varied and include around 44% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the ischaemic heart disease burden and between 7% and 41% of selected cancer burdens all attributable to overweight and obesity (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Studies have also shown that once children become obese they are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and have an increased risk of developing both short and long-term health conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). In 2007–08, around 25% of people aged 18 years and over were obese, 37% were overweight, a further 37% were in the normal weight range.

Overweight and Obese Stats.png
(Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012)
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010), provided significant evidence to conclude that those living in low socioeconomic areas had significantly lower health literacy compared to those within higher socioeconomic areas. Individuals within the most disadvantaged socioeconomic regions were also more likely to have three or more risk factors than those in higher socioeconomic regions.

Most studies that have considered associations between socioeconomic position and diet have focused on the role of cognitive factors, such as nutrition knowledge, attitudes or beliefs about health (Ball, Timperio & Crawford, 2009). However, the sociologist Bourdieu, bases his beliefs on the concept of ‘habitus’, which provides individuals with ways of thinking, feeling and acting. Bourdieu says that judgments of taste are related to social position, or more precisely, are themselves acts of social positioning (Bourdieu, 1984). One could say that the ‘Bogan’ lifestyle is a product of habitus, which is expressed through ‘taste’. Taste is one of the key issues in Bourdieu’s analysis of distinction as it refers to the process whereby individuals adopt voluntary choices and preferences. So they consume certain things according to taste (Williams, 1995).

Cultural and Social Analysis

Society and culture are crucial to consider when trying to understand how the foods Bogan’s are consuming effects their health and public health overall. The impact that poor diet and the overconsumption of unhealthy food have on the health of ‘bogans’ is a critical issue with regards to contemporary public health in Australia. In the literature review, many health risks of consuming unhealthy foods were highlighted, showing the effects poor diet has on the individual, the community and overall public health. When analysing this particular health issue, it’s important to look at the Bogan culture and how it has evolved over the years. This particular cultural group typically resides in regions of low-socio economic standing or low-cost housing estates. Generally this group of people tend to congregate in areas located inland from a coastal fringe or major waterway and where there is little or no features & amenities (Brown & Brown, 2005). They normally occupy the unemployed or low to middle working class bracket. Therefore, one can assume that because they are of low socio economic positioning, 'Bogans' consume what they can afford.

French sociologist Bourdieu pioneered concepts such as ‘habitus’ to reveal the dynamics of power in social life (Bourdieu, 1984). He says that the judgments of taste are related to social position, or more precisely, are themselves acts of social positioning. Bourdieu also states that it is through Habitus that certain classes develop. Habitus is like culture, however there is greater emphasis on how our day-to-day interpretation of the world is affected by social structures within which we live (Williams, 1995). These structures can be our religion, gender, age, political views, upbringing, anything that defines who we are and how we think.

The social and cultural groups effected by this issue are the Bogan families who live in the low socio economic areas, especially the children of the 'bogan' families. Awareness of this issue is important as people of low socioeconomic position are more likely to have inadequate consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and are more likely to consume take away foods or foods with a high fat content. As the culture of eating a family meal at the dinner table has changed to the more fast food, options such as take aways or limited fresh fruit and vegetables, future generations of children will consider this the norm and adopt the same behaviours.

Public health experts should focus on education of food and nutrition as well as physical activity in schools. They should also look at access to fresh fruit and vegetables that particular communities have or don’t have. There has been suggestions from certain studies to raise the value of welfare benefits, particularly those in low income groups. However, this raises the question of, even if Bogan’s had more money, would they spend it on healthier food or continue with their current eating habits of booze, hamburgers and cigarettes.

Analysis of the artefact and your own learning reflections

The artefact chosen is a good 'case in point' of the topic of 'Bogan's' because it represents the kind of foods Bogan's would consume. The artefact did seem to take a stereotypical point of view, however the people being interviewed looked like they had the same profile as the group in question (‘bogans’) and didn’t mind sharing with the interviewer what particular foods they would consume. When researching statistics, it was surprising to find out that the leading cause of death in Australia was ischaemic heart disease and because dietary factors played a crucial part in the disease, it was a preventable disease. It’s important for people to be educated in food and nutrition and know how to cook good healthy home meals for themselves. That way they can pass this culture down to their children which will have positive effects, including lower obesity rates. Being a future Home Economics teacher, it's important I understand the social trends of this particular cultural group in order to address certain food and nutrition issues and teach them how to cook healthy home cooked meals. I need to be able to understand why it is that these people consume certain foods whether it's their socioeconomic standing, income, family values, upbringing etc.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Health: Article in pursuit of 2&5 fruit and vegetable consumption in Australia. Retrieved from

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Health: Health risk factors. Retrieved from

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Health: Mortality, life expectancy and cause of death. Retrieved from,%20life%20expectancy%20and%20causes%20of%20death~231

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Diet. Retrieved from

Ball, K., Timperio, A., & Crawford, D. (2009). Neighbourhood and socioeconomic inequalities in food access and affordability. Health and Place, 15 (2), 578-585.

Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. United States of America, USA: Harvard University Press.

Brown, B., & Brown, D. (2005). Beyond Boganism. The Journal of Popular Culture, 38 (4).

MacFarlane, A., Crawford, D., Ball, K., Savige, G., & Worsley, A. (2007). Adolescent home food environments and socioeconomic position. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 16(4), 748-56

Malhotra, S. L. (1973). In search of causes of ischaemic heart disease. British Heart Journal, 35 (1), 17-23.

Marshall, T., Kennedy, E., & Offutt, S. (2000). Exploring a fiscal food policy: The case of diet and ischaemic heart disease / Commentary: Alternative nutrition outcomes using a fiscal food policy. British Medical Journal, 320 (7230) 301-305.

Williams, S. J. (1995). Theorising class, health and lifestyles: can Bourdieu help us. Sociology of Health & Illness, 17 (5), 577-604.

World Health Organisation. (2003). Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Retrieved from

Writers, S. (2009, May 07). People of higher socioeconomic status choose better diets. UPI Space Daily. Retrieved from