Véronique Provencher, RD, PhD

Centre NUTRISS, INAF, School of Nutrition
Université Laval

Exploring food literacy from a gender perspective: Implications to fairly support healthy eating habits

The concept of food literacy has been studied extensively in recent years as an approach to build more positive food relationships, and better health and well-being. Healthy eating recommendations for the population, with Canada's Food Guide in the foreground promoting the importance of cooking more often, underscore its importance. Food literacy, however, has not been explored extensively from a gendered perspective. Gender roles, particularly male and female, are very present in relation to food. These are reflected in enduring social expectations of women for many responsibilities, in particular those associated with food-related tasks in the family. Thus, there remains an unequal gender distribution of roles, even more so when we consider the combined effect of gender and parenthood. In this context, it is important to questions mother-centric approaches to food and food literacy, to lay the groundwork for a more equitable division of labour within families.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the concept of food literacy and its relevance to healthy eating habits and well-being;
  2. Explore gender differences in cultural and social norms that contribute to create imbalance toward mother and father’s level of responsibility and food parenting practices;
  3. Consider opportunities for more inclusive parenting practices and food literacy messaging that support healthy eating behaviors within families.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Véronique Provencher (RD, PhD) is a Full Professor at the School of Nutrition at Université Laval and a researcher at the Centre Nutrition, santé et Société (NUTRISS - Leader of Axis 3 – Nutrition et Société) of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF; Director of Theme 6 – Nutrition et Société). Dr. Provencher is a registered dietitian and a member of the Ordre des diététistes-nutritionnistes du Québec (ODNQ). She earned MSc and PhD degrees at Université Laval before undertaking postdoctoral research in psychology at the University of Toronto. Since the beginning of her career, she has been awarded a number of research grants, published more than a hundred publications in high-impact journals, and is renowned for her work in public health nutrition. She is currently co-chair of the Nutrition Science Advisory Committee which aim to provide Health Canada with timely and independent scientific and technical advice related to nutrition, including current and emerging research within the field. She is also actively involved in the Food Quality Observatory as the Scientific Director where she studied issues related to the food environment. In summary, her innovative research program focuses on psychological and behavioural factors related to food intake and weight-related issues. The main aim of her research is to support the development of new public health practices and policies that promote healthy eating in a sustainable way.