A Food Literacy Measure for School Children (2018-2019)

This study will develop, test and validate a multidimensional Food Literacy index for school children grade 6-7. The resulting instrument will be useful for assessing food literacy levels and guide food education activities.

Background and purpose

Food literacy is a relatively new concept that captures the complexity of knowledge, skills and practices necessary to cope with food needs in everyday life. Being able to measure food literacy (FL) in children is relevant for guiding food education and health promotion in school. The purpose of the study is to develop, test and validate an instrument to measure FL in children, grade 6-7 (aged 12-14).


Theory and methods

Benn (2014) proposes a theoretical FL model with five domains that in addition to common domains of food knowledge and cooking skills includes sensory competences, ethical considerations and citizenship in relation to food and sustainability. The development of the instrument takes place in four steps: 1) Conducting a review of existing questionnaires of related concepts. 2) Specifying the domains of the model by defining sub-elements to each domain and questions to each element. 3) Reviewing questions by a panel of experts in food and health education in children, and subsequently adjusting and reducing according to comments. 4) Ensuring face validity by testing with 3 classes and focus group interviews with children afterwards. The final questionnaire with 60 questions will be distributed and tested among 800 children and retested among 150 children in March-April 2019.


Findings

The questionnaire’s structure will be validated with confirmatory factor analysis and  reliability tested with Cronbach alpha and omega reliability measures. The questionnaire’s convergent validity will be tested by investigating the association between measured FL and a theoretically related construct of health literacy in school children (Paakkari et al. 2016).


Perspectives

This study will result in a multidimensional FL instrument useful to assess FL levels in school children and guide future food and nutrition education. The usefulness as an evaluation instrument will require testing in larger studies.


Aim

To develop, test and validate an instrument to measure children’s food literacy in five domains.


Collaborators

DTU Fødevareinstituttet. Funding from Arla Fonden.

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