The measurement and application of food literacy: a research update

Thompson, C.


Overview of content:

The term ‘food literacy’ first emerged in contemporary nutrition strategies in Queensland in 2009. As part of her thesis, Helen Vidgen defined the term and developed a conceptualisation, consisting of four domains and 11 components of food literacy. Despite the Vidgen definition and conceptualisation being highly cited within national and international literature, there is still no agreement by researchers about items that could encompass a food literacy questionnaire.  Therefore, this presentation aims to describe the progression toward the development of a measure of food literacy for Australia and how a valid and reliable questionnaire can be used across a variety of settings by nutrition and dietetic professionals in Queensland.

Key learnings, challenges or findings:

Nutritionists and Dietitians are in advantageous position to work with the public to improve food literacy across a variety of settings. The 2019 Food Literacy Symposium found that a significant barrier to professionals addressing food literacy was (1) the lack of a valid/reliable measure, (2) inconclusive research investigating the relationship between food literacy and dietary intake, and (3) limited communication and dissemination of research on food literacy.

Therefore, the key learnings are that;

– A measure of food literacy for Australia is currently under development and aims to comprehensively address all domains and components of the Vidgen conceptualisation.

– This research will also include a study investigating the relationship between food literacy, dietary intake and food security.

– Our current database of practitioners/researchers will be updated as the project progresses and those interested will be able to join the database.


Thompson, C. (2020, November 11). The measurement and application of food literacy: a research update. In Queensland Nutrition Network Meeting.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

BNutrSc, BBiomedSc(Hons), PhD
Director, NPR Consulting

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