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How Primary School Curriculums in 11 Countries around the World Deliver Food Education and Address Food Literacy: A Policy Analysis

Smith, K., Wells, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0329-2120 & Hawkes, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5091-878X (2022). How Primary School Curriculums in 11 Countries around the World Deliver Food Education and Address Food Literacy: A Policy Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(4), doi: 10.3390/ijerph19042019


(1) Background: As one of the biggest drivers of health and climate change, the food system has unrealised potential to influence consumption toward affordable, healthy, sustainable diets. A range of policy levers, including mandating food education, are needed. Schools are considered the best place for food education and childhood is a crucial period when eating habits that persist into adulthood are formed. Food education as part of the curriculum is crucial in generating population shifts in food systems improvements. The purpose of this policy analysis was to analyse mandatory curriculums in different countries to explore the ways in which primary school food education addresses food literacy. (2) Methods: This study analyses how food education within primary school education policy, in 11 countries, addresses Food Literacy (FL). It is the first study of this kind. A case study methodology was employed, and curriculum policy content analysis was conducted using a Food Literacy framework. (3) Results: Each country has a curriculum dedicated to food education, supported by food education in non-food curriculums. There is no standardized approach to primary school food education policy, no consensus in primary food education nomenclature or what curriculums constitute. Curriculums focus on cooking and health topics, but significantly less on social-cultural, equity, and sustainability issues. (4) Conclusion: How primary curriculums around the world deliver food education policy to address FL varies enormously. All 11 countries have dedicated food curriculums, supported by non-food curriculums, but there is no consensus as to what food education is called or constitutes. Countries rarely deal with FL comprehensively. The most comprehensive are single, detailed food curriculums, complemented by non-food curriculums where food knowledge and skills progress clearly and are the intended learning outcome.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Publisher Keywords: food literacy; food education; primary school; food education policy; food systems
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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