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dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Sheila
dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Murray
dc.contributor.authorPower, Daisy Jay
dc.identifier.citationPower, D. J. (2017). Food Literacy in New Zealand School Children: Food Origins (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: The prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes and heart disease is rising in New Zealand (NZ). Therefore, public health strategies are looking at the driving forces of poor dietary patterns as they influence these trends. Human diets will also come to rely on the sustainability of the food system, which is suffering from the affects of industrial agriculture, disturbing climate and natural resources. Food origins knowledge, nutrition knowledge, and food skills (how to procure, prepare and store food) are known to affect food choice and behaviour. These qualities make up the term ‘food literacy’, which may be an effective tool for people aiming to achieve a healthy and sustainable diet, impacting both human and environmental health. Fostering food literacy in youth may help individuals to achieve positive health outcomes throughout the lifespan and to conserve the food system for future generations. Currently there is no information on the food literacy of NZ children. Objective: To measure the food literacy levels of school children aged 9 to 11 years with a particular focus on food origins. Design: Cross-sectional survey of NZ children aged 9 to 11 years. Methods: In total, 858 children were recruited from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington primary schools in NZ. Food literacy was assessed using an online 37-item validated questionnaire. Demographic questions were also included. Participants had their height and weight measured. The survey results, uploaded and stored in Sogo-Survey, were exported to Microsoft Excel for analysis. Each item was coded with a total score of one; scores for each section were summed, and presented as means and standard deviations. Results: The mean total score for the section on food origins knowledge was 74%; nutrition knowledge was 56.5%; and food skills 72.6%. The highest score of 93% was achieved for item ‘source of processed foods’. In the food origins knowledge section the ‘seasonality of fresh foods’ was the item most children (66%) could not answer. The ‘sugar content of sweetened beverages’ was the lowest ranked item overall (16% answered correctly). The majority (71%) of children did not know the correct handling of raw poultry to prevent cross contamination of harmful bacteria. Most schools (86%) reported growing their own fruits and vegetables, with 20% more children reporting composting food waste at school than at home. Conclusion: The overall results indicated that children were more aware of where their food comes from and how to prepare and store food, than the nutritional value of it. Gaps in knowledge were identified around the seasonality of food, food safety and awareness of national nutrition guidelines. The findings from this project could be used to inform future programs that aim to improve the food literacy of children in NZ.
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.subjectNew Zealand
dc.titleFood Literacy in New Zealand School Children: Food Origins
dc.language.rfc3066en Nutrition of Dietetics of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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