Food and nutrition education opportunities within Australian primary schools

Penelope Love, Alison Booth, Claire Margerison, Caryl Nowson, Carley Grimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Schools are regarded as a key setting for obesity prevention, providing an opportunity to reach a large number of children, frequently and over a prolonged period, through formal and informal opportunities to learn about health behaviours. However, the low value placed on health versus academic achievement is a barrier to effective implementation of food and nutrition (F&N) education. This study used a qualitative exploratory approach to explore the views of teachers and key health and education sector stakeholders regarding opportunities for F&N education within the Australian primary school setting. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to explore this topic from the perspectives of state-level coordination and development through to local-level implementation and support within the Australian primary school context. Only 2.6% of the Victorian Curriculum related to F&N education, taught through two (of seven) learning outcomes: Health and Physical Education, and Technologies. While stakeholders considered child health a priority, and schools an ideal setting for F&N education, barriers included a lack of strategic policy alignment, limited leadership and coordination, a 'crowded curriculum' and poor availability of shelf-ready resources with explicit curriculum links. A cross-curriculum approach was considered essential for F&N education to become embedded as a core component of the curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291-1301
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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