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Which food literacy dimensions are associated with diet quality among Canadian parents?

Melissa Anne Fernandez (School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec, Canada) (Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Québec, Canada)
Sophie Desroches (School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec, Canada) (Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Québec, Canada)
Marie Marquis (Department of Nutrition, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada)
Alexandre Lebel (Graduate School of Land Management and Regional Planning, Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Art and Design, Laval University, Québec, Canada) (Evaluation Platform on Obesity Prevention, Québec Heart and Lung Institute, Québec, Canada) (Centre for Research on Planning and Development (CRAD), Laval University, Québec, Canada)
Mylène Turcotte (Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Québec, Canada)
Véronique Provencher (School of Nutrition, Laval University, Québec, Canada) (Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Québec, Canada)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 26 June 2019

Issue publication date: 9 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore associations between different food literacy dimensions and diet quality among a sample of Canadian parents and examine differences in the prevalence of food literacy items between mothers and fathers.

Design/methodology/approach

Parents responsible for food preparation (n=767) completed an online survey including dietary intakes and 22 items across five dimensions of food literacy (knowledge, planning, cooking, food conceptualisation and social aspects). Differences between genders for each item were analysed with χ2 tests. The healthy eating index (HEI) adapted to the Canadian Food Guide (CFG) was computed from a food frequency questionnaire. Associations between HEI scores and each item were analysed with linear regression models, controlling for sociodemographic variables and multiple testing.

Findings

Of parents responsible for food preparation, 81 per cent were mothers. The mean HEI score was 76.6 (SD: 10.6) and mothers reported healthier diets in comparison to fathers (p=0.01). More mothers than fathers used CFG recommendations, selected foods based on nutrition labels, made soups, stews, muffins and cakes from scratch and added fruits and vegetables to recipes (p<0.05). More fathers reduced the salt content of recipes than mothers (p=0.03). Two knowledge items and seven food conceptualisation items were significantly associated with better HEI, after controlling for covariates and multiple testing. Planning items, cooking skills and social aspects were not significantly associated with HEI.

Originality/value

This study investigates multiple dimensions of food literacy and identifies knowledge and food conceptualisation as potential targets for future interventions involving parents responsible for household meal preparation. This study highlights the importance of considering gender differences in food literacy.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR; funding reference number: GIR-127078). MA Fernandez was a CIHR Fellow (FRN: MFE-152525). The CIHR was not involved in designing the study or interpreting the data.

Citation

Fernandez, M.A., Desroches, S., Marquis, M., Lebel, A., Turcotte, M. and Provencher, V. (2019), "Which food literacy dimensions are associated with diet quality among Canadian parents?", British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 8, pp. 1670-1685. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-11-2018-0724

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited