Food Skills: Associations With Diet Quality and Food Waste Among Canadian Parents
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between self-reported food skills and diet quality along with measured food waste among a sample of Canadian parents. DESIGN: Cross-sectional data from surveys to assess food skills, 3-day food records to assess the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015, and food waste measured by household waste audits. SETTING: Guelph-Wellington, Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Parents (n = 130) with children aged 2-8 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: HEI-2015 scores, daily per capita avoidable and unavoidable food waste (grams). ANALYSIS: Linear regression using generalized estimating equations to determine unstandardized β estimates of associations between food skills and dependent variables. Models were adjusted for multiple testing, gender, and level of education. RESULTS: Food safety knowledge for cooking hot foods (β = 4.3, P = 0.05), planning (β = 4.5, P = 0.001), and conceptualizing food (β = 4.0, P = 0.03) were positively associated with HEI-2015 scores. Knowledge related to best before dates (β = 25.3, P = 0.05; β = 12.1, P = 0.04), conceptualizing food (β = 34.1, P = 0.01; β = 13.8, P = 0.02), and mechanical techniques (β = 39.2, P = 0.01; β = 20.5, P = 0.004) were associated with more avoidable and unavoidable food waste, respectively. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Addressing higher-level food skills with a focus on efficient food preparation practices that make use of all edible portions of foods could play an important role in minimizing food waste and improving diet quality. Additional research in other countries and in a larger, more socioeconomically diverse sample is needed to confirm these findings.
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