Ronto, R., Ball, L., Pendergast, D. & Harris, N. (2016). The role of home economics teachers in enhancing adolescents’ food literacy to develop healthy dietary behaviours. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia,23(1), 11-19.
Food literacy education is a potential public health strategy to support adolescents to have healthy dietary behaviours. In most high schools in Australia home economics teachers are well positioned to teach food literacy. However, there is limited understanding of the contribution of home economics teachers towards educating adolescents to develop food literacy and healthy dietary behaviours. This study explored high school home economics teachers’ understanding of food literacy and their role in developing adolescents’ food literacy and healthy dietary behaviours. Qualitative study design was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 high school home economics teachers in Australia. The interview questions focused on the teachers’ understanding of food literacy, their background in food literacy, and their role in enhancing adolescents’ food literacy and healthy dietary behaviours. Data were analysed using the thematic data analysis method. Overall, home economics teachers displayed an understanding of food literacy that broadly consisted of food and nutrition knowledge and food skills. They discussed two levels of food literacy: basic food skills and macro topics such as environmental sustainability. Many home economics teachers recognised the potential impact of food literacy on food choices and health outcomes. Finally, the teachers also described their responsibility and that of other teachers to be positive role models to further impact on the food literacy and healthy dietary behaviours of adolescents.
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