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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nutrition literacy : towards a new conception for home economics education Cimbaro, Mary Anna


As a middle school home economics teacher, I teach foods and nutrition to grade seven, eight, and nine students. I have always strived to find new and innovative ways to teach nutrition to students in order to help them take nutrition knowledge and transform it into everyday nutrition practice. I had noticed, recently, that in the academic literature of other areas of study, the term literacy is frequently being used, for example, health literacy, ecological literacy, food literacy. I began to contemplate whether nutrition literacy might be a way to conceptualize the goal of curriculum and pedagogy in nutrition education. I began a conceptual quest by using health literacy, within the field of medicine, as my model, as well as, synthesizing the literature in nutrition and in literacy. The result was a conceptual framework for literacy which I used to elaborate nutrition literacy. This conceptual framework uses a Venn diagram that highlights the importance of the overlapping areas of language, action and ecology in designing nutrition literacy events that eventually lead to nutrition literacy practices for healthy living. The significance of the resulting conception of nutrition literacy for home economics educators, who teach nutrition, was then explored particularly focusing on the implications for curriculum and instruction. The framework has the potential to enlighten other areas of study that specifically use literacy as a goal.

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