Adult Food Literacy Program Boosts Nutrition Habits
Adult Food Literacy Program Boosts Nutrition Habits Newswise
New Study Shows Effectiveness of Food Literacy Program in Improving Diet Quality
Philadelphia, September 11, 2023
Improving food literacy positively influences diet quality and reduces the risk of chronic diseases; however, interpreting the evidence of its effectiveness has been limited. Results of a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier, found that Foodbank Western Australia’s Food Sensations for Adults (FSA) food literacy program is effective in producing positive changes across a range of food literacy and dietary behaviors in participants ages 18 and older.
Lead author Andrea Begley, DrPH, School of Population Health, Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia (WA), says, “Behavior change takes time to establish. Participants may be unable to change all food literacy and dietary behaviors quickly, so unsurprisingly, programs lasting more than five months were deemed the most effective.”
Study Design and Methodology
This study tested the effectiveness of the FSA with a quasi-experimental design. Data were collected at the start and end of the program. The control group was recruited from adult volunteers and staff at the Foodbank WA warehouse in Perth and at a Foodbank WA promotion stall during a public exposition from August to October 2020. The FSA facilitators administered preprogram and postprogram questionnaires using an evaluation protocol to maintain consistency and ethical requirements. One-hundred twenty-eight control group participants completed the preprogram questionnaire and 80 completed the postprogram questionnaire. These responses were matched with FSA program participants (62.5% matched data).
Dr. Begley explains, “We hypothesized that FSA program participants who completed at least 75% of the program would report statistically significant improvements in food literacy behaviors and fruit and vegetable intake.”
The Food Sensations for Adults Program
The FSA comprised four sessions of 150 minutes each. The curriculum was mapped out using the Australian Food Literacy and Context Model within four categories: planning and management, selection, preparation, and eating. All lesson content and resources were designed to be accessible to people with low literacy and were primarily pictorial.
While the FSA is a relatively short program, delivered over four weeks, researchers found it effective with demonstrated sustained behavioral change in line with other similar published programs.
Results and Implications
The results indicated that the program group achieved statistically greater improvements in planning and management and preparation. The servings of vegetables significantly improved as well. An increase in cooking confidence was measured, with improvements in other food literacy behaviors also noted.
Dr. Begley notes, “This study provides a valuable contribution to the literature to justify the funding of food literacy programs. The results are pertinent to government policymakers in decision-making for evidence-based public health investment.”
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
1. SDGs Addressed or Connected to the Issues Highlighted in the Article:
- SDG 2: Zero Hunger
- SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
- SDG 4: Quality Education
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
The article discusses the effectiveness of a food literacy program in improving diet quality and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. This directly relates to SDG 2, which aims to achieve zero hunger and improve nutrition. It also connects to SDG 3, which focuses on promoting good health and well-being. Additionally, the program’s emphasis on education and behavior change aligns with SDG 4, which aims to ensure quality education for all. Lastly, the article mentions the importance of responsible consumption and production, which falls under SDG 12.
2. Specific Targets Based on the Article’s Content:
- Target 2.2: By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age.
- Target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
- Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.
- Target 12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
The article’s focus on improving nutrition and reducing the risk of chronic diseases aligns with Target 2.2 of SDG 2. The program’s effectiveness in producing positive changes in food literacy and dietary behaviors relates to Target 3.4 of SDG 3. The emphasis on education and behavior change connects to Target 4.7 of SDG 4. Lastly, the mention of the program’s contribution to evidence-based public health investment relates to Target 12.8 of SDG 12.
3. Indicators Mentioned or Implied in the Article:
- Improvements in food literacy behaviors
- Increase in fruit and vegetable intake
- Enhanced planning and management skills
- Improved preparation skills
- Increase in cooking confidence
The article mentions that the program group achieved statistically greater improvements in planning and management, preparation skills, and servings of vegetables. It also notes an increase in cooking confidence and improvements in other food literacy behaviors. These indicators can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets, as they reflect positive changes in food literacy, dietary behaviors, and nutrition.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 2: Zero Hunger||Target 2.2: By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age.||– Increase in fruit and vegetable intake
– Improvements in food literacy behaviors
|SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being||Target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.||– Increase in fruit and vegetable intake
– Improvements in food literacy behaviors
|SDG 4: Quality Education||Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.||– Improvements in food literacy behaviors
– Increase in cooking confidence
|SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production||Target 12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.||– Improvements in food literacy behaviors
– Increase in cooking confidence
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