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dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Sheila
dc.contributor.advisorSkeaff, Murray
dc.contributor.authorWare, Lara Marie
dc.identifier.citationWare, L. M. (2018). Food Literacy in New Zealand School Children (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: Food literacy is the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours needed to have a diet that is environmentally sustainable and conducive to health. Childhood represents a critical period in which dietary behaviours are formed that track into adulthood. Nutrition education strategies to improve food literacy are often targeted to children however few studies have measured children’s food literacy. Aim: The aim of this study was to measure the food literacy of Year 6 schoolchildren in New Zealand and to explore the extent to which demographic characteristics are associated with food literacy. Design: Cross-sectional, school-based cluster design using a computer-based self-administered online questionnaire. Methods: Schools from New Zealand’s three largest cities (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) were randomly selected. Schools were eligible if they were co-educational, had a Year 6 roll greater than 40 students, were not classed as private or special, and were within 25km of the city centre. Schools were visited between February and April 2016. Participating Year 6 children from these schools had their height and weight measured, answered questions about demographic information, and completed a 37-item online questionnaire designed to measure food literacy. The questionnaire comprised three sections: food origins, nutrition knowledge, and food knowledge and skills and was validated for this age group. Results: 858 school children from 44 schools completed the online questionnaire. The majority of participants were 10 years old (87%), female (55%), from a high decile school (60%), of normal weight (70%) and European/Pākehā/Other ethnicity (61%). The mean (SD) overall food literacy score was 68% (12), with girls scoring 3% (95%CI, 1 to 3; P=0.004) higher than boys. Mean food literacy score was 11% (95%CI, 8 to 15; P<0.001) lower in children from schools in low compared with high socioeconomic communities. Children scored highest in the food origins section, with a mean (SD) score of 74% (13), compared to 71% (15) in the food knowledge and skills section, and 61% (13) in the nutrition knowledge section. Conclusions: This is the first study to measure food literacy in New Zealand children. Children scored well in the questionnaire, indicating a reasonable level of food literacy in this sample. This result may overestimate the food literacy of the general New Zealand population, as a high proportion of children from higher socioeconomic communities, of normal weight and European/Pākehā/Other ethnicity took part. Further investigation of the association between ethnicity, BMI and socioeconomic indicators, and food literacy in New Zealand children is needed.
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.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectfood origin
dc.subjectnutrition knowledge
dc.subjectfood skills
dc.titleFood Literacy in New Zealand School Children
dc.language.rfc3066en Nutrition of Science of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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