Food Numeracy: Definition and Application Across the Australian Secondary School Curriculum

Shirin Shakeri, Karen P McDaid, Judith Fethney


Introduction: The poor dietary intake among adolescents and the consequential health, economic and environmental concerns associated with poor intakes have been established in the literature. This calls for strengthening of school-based food and nutrition education interventions as recommended in the Australian National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People (2020-2030). One researched intervention, by the authors, is the integration of food literacy and food numeracy (FL&FN) across Australian secondary school curriculum. Aim: Food numeracy is a newly introduced term by the authors; this paper provides its substantiated definition, key elements, and an example pedagogy as an approach for integration and application across the curriculum. Methods: Methodologically, a review of scholarly peer-reviewed and grey litearture, and thematic analysis of all secondary school curriculum documents (years 7-10) have been conducted. Results: Food numeracy is defined as the ability to use mathematical skills effectively to partake of daily requirements and be aware of its value from farm to fork. Additionally, two food numeracy key elements of food production and food consumption with several sub-elements with their corresponding curriculum descriptors have been deduced from the curriculum documents. Finally, practical application and integration of food numeracy across all subjects has been demonstrated using deduced food numeracy and relevant numeracy elements from the Australian curriculum. Conclusion/future implication: It is anticipated that integration of food numeracy across the curriculum can strengthen adolescents’ knowledge and skills in both food and nutrition, and numeracy which has a direct correlation with enhanced health status. Introduction and application of food numeracy aligns with contemporary teaching practices which aim to inspire students to use analytical thinking to solve food-related problems and become conscientious global citizens.



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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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