Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
The objective of this study was to develop an instrument to assess food literacy and to test its face validity with food pantry clients.
Methods : The Food Literacy Assessment Tool (FLAT), which targets food insecure populations, was developed using the framework of Vidgen’s food literacy after intensive literature review. FLAT assesses knowledge, self-efficacy, and practices of the four components of food literacy: planning, managing & selecting, preparing, and eating. A total of 64 items were included, with four subscales based on common attributes. Nine items measure food consumption behavior, 16 measure knowledge related to food literacy, 18 measure behavior of the four components of food literacy, and 21 measure self-efficacy of those practices of food literacy. The face validity of FLAT was tested by conducting cognitive interviews with 10 food pantry clients from an urban food pantry. Semi-structured, open-ended questions were used for the cognitive interviews and probing questions were based on common sources of errors: lack of clarity of instructions and wording of items, inappropriate assumptions or bias on the target populations, and inadequate response options.
Results : The majority of participants were female (n=7), with some high school education (n=6), and a household income less than $10,000/year (n=7). Major sources of errors included unclear diction, inappropriate response options, and assumptions about the target population. For self-efficacy questions, participants mentioned the wording “I am confident that I can” was more appropriate than “I can” because they answered the item with “I can” based on what they actually did rather than based on their confidence level. For questions on reading Nutrition Facts labels and unit price, some participants suggested to add a “Don’t know” response option because they did not know how to read them. Assumption errors were identified in questions on knowledge, preparation/cooking, consumption, and self-efficacy related to dairy products and meat because not all participants consumed meat and/or dairy products.
The findings of the cognitive interviews provided feedback which improved face validity of FLAT by increasing the clarity of items and reducing inappropriate assumptions and bias.
Funding Sources : The Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, Community Health Grant