Measuring Food Culture: a Tool for Public Health Practice

Rebecca Kanter, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Food culture is a ubiquitous aspect of all societies. This review provides an overview of methods for measuring food culture, and emphasizes the importance of these measures not just for description, but also for strengthening public health practice, primarily through the development of better interventions; to monitor and evaluate changes in diet and nutrition; and for the development of strategies for sustainability and dissemination. Recent Findings: Food culture measurement has enriched public health practice through its use of myriad approaches, including interviews, cultural domain analysis, visual methods, observation, time allocation studies, focus groups and community workshops, household studies, and textual analysis. Summary: Food culture measurement is essential for public health practice related to food and nutrition, and can lead to, among other outcomes, improved implementation research in nutrition, understanding household dynamics that impact nutritional outcomes, innovative textual analysis to identify food culture through language, and the selection of interventions conveyed through multiple strategies, including digital means, such as via social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-492
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Food culture
  • Mixed methods
  • Nutritional anthropology
  • Public health
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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