Does school health and home economics education influence adults' food knowledge?
Home economics and health teachers are to be found in many parts of the world. They teach students about food in relation to its nutritional, safety and environmental properties. The effects of such teaching might be expected to be reflected in the food knowledge of adults who have undertaken school education in these areas. This study examined the food knowledge associations of school home economics and health education among Australian adults. Two separate online surveys were conducted nationwide among 2022 (November 2011) and 2146 Australian adults (November-December 2012). True/false and multiple choice questions in both surveys were used to assess nutrition, food safety and environmental knowledge. Knowledge scores were constructed and compared against respondents' experience of school health or home economics education via multiple regression analyses. The results from both studies showed that home economics (and similar) education was associated with higher levels of food knowledge among several age groups. The associations of home economics education with food knowledge differed across several Australian states and recall of home economics themes differed across the age groups. These findings suggest that home economics education may bring about long-lasting learning of food knowledge. Further research is required, however, to confirm the findings and to test the causal influence of home economics education on adults' food knowledge.