To read this content please select one of the options below:

Essential food and nutrition knowledge and skills for primary school children: Australian parents' opinions

Gozde Aydin (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Claire Margerison (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Anthony Worsley (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Alison Booth (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 22 November 2021

Issue publication date: 21 April 2022

506

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the views of Australian primary school parents regarding the food and nutrition education (FNE) curriculum. Associations with personal values (Universalism and Hedonism) and demographic measures were also explored.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted among 787 parents in March 2021. Parents rated the importance of 17 FNE topics. They were also asked about their support for six curriculum improvements and to state their own improvement suggestions.

Findings

Parents viewed the “Effect of food on health” and “Food hygiene” as the most important topics. Three FNE components were derived: (1) food safety and preparation, (2) health and nutrition information, (3) food origins and environmental sustainability. The “Food safety and preparation” component score was associated with both universalism-nature and hedonism values but negatively associated with parental education. The “Health and nutrition information” component score was associated with universalism-nature value and main language spoken at home. Lastly, the “Food origins and environmental sustainability” component score was associated with universalism-nature value. The two personal values, universalism-nature and hedonism, were more strongly associated with parents' views of curriculum topics than parental demographic characteristics. Parents had several criticisms of current FNE, including school food environments not resonating with FNE taught in the classroom and that FNE might increase the risk of eating disorders. They also suggested that the FNE curriculum should support both parents and teachers by providing relevant resources and training.

Originality/value

Australian parents' views of the importance of FNE topics and how to improve FNE in primary schools have been under-examined.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the parents who participated and Dr Linda Thies for the comments and suggestions on the paper.

Funding: The study received internal funding from the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University.

Citation

Aydin, G., Margerison, C., Worsley, A. and Booth, A. (2022), "Essential food and nutrition knowledge and skills for primary school children: Australian parents' opinions", Health Education, Vol. 122 No. 4, pp. 424-439. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-09-2021-0131

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles