Where to next for food literacy? Findings from the 2019 Food Literacy Symposium

Thompson, C. & Vidgen, H.A



Food literacy emerged to address the skills, behaviour and knowledge needed by individuals to navigate the food environment and meet food needs.  Nutritionists and dietitians are in an advantageous position to work with the public to improve food literacy across a variety of health settings.  However, the role of nutrition professionals in addressing food literacy across the continuum of care has yet to be defined.


Therefore, the 2019 Food Literacy Symposium was undertaken to determine nutrition professionals’ current approach to food literacy and the barriers to addressing food literacy in practice.


Attendees of the 2019 Food Literacy Symposium were posed seven questions throughout the event using GoSoapBox, relating to how nutrition professionals addressed and measured food literacy and the issues associated with this.


Food literacy was most commonly addressed in cooking workshops for adults and in nutrition-based programs for children.  Measures of food literacy tended to focus on post-program cooking or nutrition knowledge outcomes, however nutrition professionals acknowledged that a lack of validated measures of food literacy was a significant barrier to measuring the construct.  Nutrition professionals addressed food literacy with the intention of increasing self-confidence around food choices and reducing restrictive diets, however issues in addressing food literacy ranged from a lack of time and competing priorities to funding restrictions.


Overall, a comprehensive measure of food literacy is needed for nutrition professionals to address food literacy in practice.  Therefore, future research in the development of a food literacy measure needs to be communicated and disseminated among nutrition professionals.


Thompson, C. & Vidgen, H.A. (2020, August 26). Where to next for food literacy? Findings from the 2019 Food Literacy Symposium. Abstract accepted In Dietitians Association of Australia 37th National Conference.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

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

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