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Food literacy interventions in elementary schools: A systematic scoping review


Kelly, RK and Nash, R, Food literacy interventions in elementary schools: A systematic scoping review, Journal of School Health, 91, (8) pp. 660-669. ISSN 0022-4391 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 American School Health Association

DOI: doi:10.1111/josh.13053


Objectives:Childhood is a critical period for developing healthy behaviors and attitudes towards food. There is a growing interest in school-based interventions that aim to improve food literacy. Therefore, the present systematic scoping review aimed to characterize food literacy interventions in elementary schools.

Methods: Databases (PubMed, Web of Science and EBSCO) were searched for food literacy interventions in elementary schools (students aged 4-12 years). Studies were assessed according to design, duration, theoretical underpinning and ascertainment of food literacy outcome(s). Interventions were assessed according to functional, interactive or critical food literacy competencies.

Results: After exclusions, 115 studies were eligible for review, including 104 original interventions. Interventions ranged from 45 minutes to 4 years. Social Cognitive Theory was the most frequently used underpinning theory and interventions included; classroom lessons, games, school gardens, food preparation and cooking classes. Most studies measured food literacy outcomes quantitatively (97%, n 112). All studies addressed functional literacy (n 115), while 77% (n 89) addressed interactive food literacy, only 28% (n 32) addressed critical food literacy.

Conclusions: In this first international review of food literacy programs in elementary schools we found great heterogeneity in study and intervention characteristics. Most interventions addressed functional and interactive food literacy; whereas critical food literacy requires further research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:food literacy, elementary, school, scoping review
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Community child health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Community health care
UTAS Author:Kelly, RK (Ms Rebecca Kelly)
UTAS Author:Nash, R (Dr Rosie Nash)
ID Code:142878
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2021-02-13
Last Modified:2022-01-11
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