An impact evaluation of the FoodMate programme: Perspectives of homeless young people and staff

Sarah J Meiklejohn, Liza Barbour, Claire E Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Food insecurity remains an issue for vulnerable populations in developed countries. The potential dietary and food security impacts of nutrition education programmes in Australia remain largely undocumented. This study investigated the impacts of an eight-session nutrition education programme delivered within community case management services for young people experiencing homelessness. Design and setting: A qualitative case study was undertaken in a community-based youth housing agency in Western Melbourne, Australia. Methods: Seven semi-structured interviews and two focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of 10 past programme graduates and five youth service staff. Data were thematically analysed using a phenomenological lens. Results: The impacts of the programme were described by four themes: (1) the nutrition education programme created a platform for social engagement, (2) reduced reliance on emergency food relief for participants, (3) participants developed food-related knowledge and skills and (4) the programme was seen as a step towards food security for young people. These impacts were dependent on a myriad of personal and programme-related characteristics. Personal characteristics included participants' intrinsic motivating factors to change their behaviours or a pre-existing interest in nutrition. Programme characteristics included the programme's flexible structure and facilitation by caseworkers that were known to the young people. Conclusion: Study findings highlight the potential impacts of a nutrition education programme on dietary behaviours and food security status when embedded within community-based services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-841
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Journal
Volume76
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Australia
  • behaviour change
  • community-based intervention
  • food insecurity
  • nutrition
  • socially disadvantage
  • young people

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