Public health nutrition (PHN) as a discipline aims to improve nutrition-related outcomes for population groups and increasing morbidity-free life years. Optimising nutritional health and wellbeing among mothers and their infants is a priority for PHN as evidence demonstrates both short and long term influence on health. Settings based intervention approaches offer a holistic approach to addressing multiple determinants of health and wellbeing. The community pharmacy (CP) is an accessible, conveniently located and widely utilised health care settings and therefore may be a potential setting for PHN intervention. The aim of the research undertaken in this thesis was to explore community pharmacy as a potential setting for public health nutrition intervention particularly among pregnant women and new mothers. Given the exploratory nature of this research a qualitative approach was undertaken based on an action research approach which positions research as informed inquiry focused on social change. The research was underpinned by assumptions regarding the complexity of practice, the role of context in developing understanding to inform action and the need for multiplicity of perspectives to enhance and deepen the investigation. Four key sources of knowledge were investigated – research literature, interventionists, mothers and public health nutritionists. Each source was explored using qualitative questioning, and a critical perspective seeking to question taken for granted ways of practicing and knowing.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014.