The influence of food literacy on the everyday practicalities of meeting nutrition recommendations

Vidgen, Helen A., Gallegos, Danielle, & Caraher, Martin (2012) The influence of food literacy on the everyday practicalities of meeting nutrition recommendations. In 8th International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods, 14-17 May 2012, Rome, Italy. (Unpublished)


Contemporary nutrition policies and plans call for focussing efforts to improve nutrition through a closer connection with food and the everyday practicalities of how people live and eat. Various words have been used to articulate what this might mean in practice. More recently, the term “food literacy” has emerged to explain this gap between the policy aims the (in)ability of people to know, understand and use food to meet nutrition recommendations. Despite its increasing use, there is no common understanding of this term or its components. Once established, food literacy could be measured in order to examine its association with nutritional outcomes.

A Delphi study of 43 Australian food experts from diverse sectors and settings explored their understanding of the term “food literacy”, the likely components and possible relationship with nutrition. The three round Delphi study began with a semi-structured telephone interview and was followed by two online surveys. Constructivist grounded theory was used to analyse data, from which a conceptual model of the relationship between food literacy and nutrition was developed. The model was then tested and refined following a phenomenological study of 37 young people aged 16-25 years who were responsible for feeding themselves. They were interviewed about their food intake, day-to-day food decision making, the knowledge and skills used and their perceptions of someone who is “good with food”.

Analysis from the Delphi study identified, eighty components of food literacy and these were grouped into eight domains: 1)access, 2)planning and management, 3)selection, 4)knowing where food comes from, 5)preparation, 6)eating, 7)nutrition and 8)food related language. When these were compared to results of the Young People’s study it was found that while specific components of food literacy were largely contextual, the importance of all eight domains continued to be relevant.

The results of these qualitative studies have set the boundaries and scope of meaning of food literacy and will be used to inform the development of measurable variables to be tested in a quantitative cross-sectional study. This prospective study will examine the relationship between food literacy and nutrition. This research is useful in guiding government strategy and investment, and informing the planning, implementation and evaluation of interventions by practitioners.

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ID Code: 68109
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: food literacy, nutrition, measurement, food
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Public Nutrition Intervention (111104)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 06 Mar 2014 22:57
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 22:59

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