illustration Faustine Régnier, for a sociological view of food studies
© Quentin Crestinu

Food, Global Health 5 min

Faustine Régnier, for a sociological view of food studies

Food, body perception and norms

Published on 13 September 2017

After initial studies in geography and ethnology, Faustine Régnier joined the Paris Institute of Political Studies, more commonly known as SciencesPo, in 1998.  Focusing on food, her preferred area, she combined her skills in geography, ethnology and sociology and in 2003 won the prestigious Jean Trémolières Award for her doctoral thesis in sociology, devoted to the social constructions of exoticism, a comparison between France and Germany.

The same year, she was recruited by INRA as a Research Scientist in the Nutrition and Social Sciences Research Unit (ALISS). She turned her attention to obesity, which led her to address the themes of food and social perceptions of the body on the one hand, and the norms that underlie them on the other. A path that Faustine Régnier is still following today, ranging from the integration and implementation of nutritional guidelines issued in the context of public health campaigns to the norms disseminated by digital tools and the diversity of their use in practice.

The international dimension of food

For several years now, Faustine Régnier has been giving a strong international dimension to her work. She has thus been working on the integration of nutritional guidelines and obesity norms, and conducted a retrospective analysis of standards in France and the USA over a long period (1934-2010), as reflected in women’s magazines.

This study provided an opportunity for an attachment in the USA in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University (2011-2012).

She focused on the social stratification of consumption and social health inequalities, based on obesity and the uneven impact of nutritional guidelines, as well as the relationships between food and body perceptions; for example, she examined the cultural diversity of the interrelationships between dietary practices and body perception by comparing France and the USA and then two European countries, France and Luxembourg.

In this latter context, F. Régnier spent some time in Luxembourg as an invited researcher in the Faculty of Letters, Human Sciences, Arts and Education Sciences (INSIDE Research Unit) at the University of Luxembourg (2014-2016).

More recently, she has been developing research projects on the seasonality of consumption as a lever for more sustainable food systems.

Towards a connected diet

In parallel, F. Régnier initiated a new research topic regarding digital tools and their uses and effects on dietary practices and body measurements. She has been focusing on an analysis of the uses and impacts of self-tracking "health/food/physical activity” tools versus "culinary” tools, using social comparisons.

In this new area, three research projects she is coordinating, or to which she is contributing, are now receiving support from INRA in the context of the Did’It metaprogramme (Diet 3.0 – Uses and impacts of digital tools to improve diet, 2016-2019), from the Ile-de-France Regional Inter-Departmental Directorate for Food, Agriculture and the Forest, from Ferrero (FacilEat4All – Levers and tools to promote a better diet for all using digital tools, 2017-2018) and from Université Paris-Saclay (NutriPerso - Tailoring food and dietary recommendations to prevent chronic diseases: health, social and economic issues). 

As a food sociologist with an excellent reputation among her peers, she has several times used her skills in the context of expert reports by INSERM (Social inequalities with respect to the perception of nutritional guidelines, 2015) and the National Health Authority (Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, 2011). She also likes to contribute to training through research for students she is supervising.

A broad range of activities that she carries out with pleasure, while highlighting a short quotation of which she is particularly fond…

“The dogs are barking, Sancho, it is a sign we are moving forwards”.

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Catherine Foucaud-ScheunemannRédacteur

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Faustine RegnierUR Alimentation et sciences sociales

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25 October 2018