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dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Sheila
dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Murray
dc.contributor.authorRussell, Kristina Louise
dc.identifier.citationRussell, K. L. (2017). Food Literacy in New Zealand School Children: Nutrition Knowledge (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: Obesity rates in both children and adults have increased in recent decades in New Zealand. Changes in lifestyle and environment have meant that the frequency of convenience food consumption has increased and food skills and knowledge are often not passed down to younger generations. Food literacy is a new term encompassing the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to prepare and consume healthy foods. Developing food literacy in children is critical to slowing the rates of childhood obesity.To date, there is no data measuring how food literate children are in New Zealand. Objective: To measure the food literacy of a sample of Year 6 children in New Zealand Design: Cross-sectional observational study in three urban centres Method: A previously validated online 37-item questionnaire comprised of 7 food origin, 15 nutrition knowledge, and 15 food skill questions, plus 7 demographic questions was used to measure food literacy. Schools in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington were randomly selected and Year 6 children invited to participate. During school hours, children completed the questionnaire either on iPads or personal devices and had their height and weight measured. A marking schedule was developed and used for scoring the questionnaire; each question had a total score of 1. Mean scores for each question and section were determined and analysed to identify the food literacy strengths and weaknesses of the children. Results: Children from 44 schools in Christchurch (n=198), Auckland (n=331) and Wellington (n=329) participated for a final sample size of 858 children. Children scored an average of 66% percent overall and 56% in the 1 nutrition knowledge section. Children displayed good knowledge with regard to interpreting food labelling (0.83/1.00) and common nutrition messages (0.75/1.00), as well as the knowledge of food groups (0.74/1.00). Lowest scoring areas were the awareness of dietary guidelines (0.25/1.00) and the knowledge of sugar content in diet cola (0.16/1.00). Conclusion: This is the first study to measure the food literacy of New Zealand children. These results can be used to guide future education programmes, however, they need to be interpreted with caution, as the sample contained a high proportion of children of “New Zealand European and Other” ethnicity from high decile schools. The focus of future interventions should be to increase children’s ability to identify healthy options and build on the demonstrated strength of label reading to aid this.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectFood Literacy
dc.subjectNutrition Knowledge
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectNew Zealand + children
dc.subjectChildhood obesity
dc.titleFood Literacy in New Zealand School Children: Nutrition Knowledge
dc.language.rfc3066en Nutrition of Dietetics of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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