Application of behaviour change theories to food safety education in youth: A scoping review
University of Waterloo – PhD student, School of Public Health and Health Systems
- Youth are a key target audience for food safety education given their poor food safety knowledge, lack of food handling experience, and increased risk taking.
- Psychosocial factors, namely, perceived behavioural control, intention, and self-efficacy, were identified as key constructs to consider when designing and delivering food safety education for youth.
- Barriers that could impact youths’ adoption of safe food handling behaviours, include: perceived susceptibility (invincibility), perceived severity, time, inclination, and peer pressure (social norms).
- Food safety education should target age groups or stages of development pre-habit formation, providing the greatest opportunity to instill desired healthy behaviours.
- Future food safety studies should base intervention design and questionnaires on behaviour change theories, and use a randomized control design that includes observational data with pre-/post and post-post testing to evaluate interventions.
- Building food handler knowledge and skills should result in increased perceived behavioural control, self-efficacy, and intentions to handle food safely for youth.