Food literacy among Danish schoolchildren

​This study develops tools for the measurement of food literacy and exploration of influential mechanisms for developing food literacy among sixth and seventh grade schoolchildren. The developed tools are subsequently applied to evaluate Arla Fonden’s “FOODcamp”.

Food and meals are essential for people’s survival and play a significant role in children’s and young people’s everyday life. Food brings pleasure and healthy food and meal habits are essential for ensuring optimal growth and development in children and young people. The dietary habits of many Danish children and young people does not, however, adhere to the official recommendations for a health and varied diet in suitable quantities (Tetens, 2018). Consequently, there’s a need for effective strategies to promote children’s and young people’s food and meal competencies in informal and formal educational settings such as schools. 

Food literacy is in this regard surfaced as a goal for many interventions related to cooking and food knowledge targeting children and young people (Been, 2014). The concept is relatively new and encapsulates the complexity of knowledge, skills and behavior that are necessary for the individual to meet the daily needs for food in the respective context (Vidgen & Gallegos, 2014). In an educational context the concept comprises, besides ordinary competencies, of food knowledge and cooking skills, sensorial competencies, ethical considerations and citizenship in relation to food and environment (Benn, 2014). Knowledge is, however, scarce on how food competencies are developed and measured in children and whether the development of these food competencies lead to a healthier dietary intake and thereby healthier children. 

Arla Fonden’s educational program ‘FOODcamp’ builds on participatory food education and new ways of developing food literacy, food courage and joy of cooking among schoolchildren in sixth and seventh grades. The pupils actively participate in the preparation of all their meals while also working with ingredients, health and sustainability.

Aim

Objectives
Drawing on FOODcamp as the case, the objectives of this study are to develop and validate a survey instrument for measurement of food literacy and to develop and validate an innovative dietary registration tool targeting schoolchildren in sixth and seventh grades. Qualitative guides for the exploration of the influential elements that contribute to promotion of food literacy in schoolchildren and questionnaires that explore if the elements of FOODcamp are implemented are also developed (Phase 1).

Health promotion Research at SDCC is responsible for development and validation of a survey instrument for measurement of food literacy and development of qualitative guides for exploration of the influential elements that contribute to development of food literacy.

In the main study (phase 2) the tools are utilized to measure and evaluate the schoolchildren’s food literacy and dietary intake compared to if they had not participated in the FOODcamp. Furthermore, it is qualitatively investigated which elements contribute to the development of food literacy in schoolchildren. Health promotion research is responsible for the measurement and evaluation of children’s food literacy and exploration of influential elements that contribute to development of food literacy.

In phase 3 the project results are disseminated in scientific publications and via a seminar in the spring of 2021. 

Collaborators 

DTU Food 
Finansiel support from Arla Fonden  

Links 

Stjernqvist, N. W., Elsborg, P., Ljungmann, C. K., Benn, J., & Bonde, A. H. (2020). Development and validation of a food literacy instrument for school children in a Danish context. Appetite, 156(August 2020), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104848


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