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Open AccessArticle

Students’ Conceptions of Sustainable Nutrition

Didactics of Biology, Osnabrück University, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5242;
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 28 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Sustainable Development Goals in Science Education)
In Education for Sustainable Development, the topic of sustainable nutrition offers an excellent learning topic as it combines the five dimensions of health, environment, economy, society, and culture, unlike most topics with a regional-global scope. The identification of existing students’ conceptions of this topic is important for the development of effective teaching and learning arrangements. This study aimed to understand students’ conceptions of sustainable nutrition and the relevance that students attribute to the five dimensions. For this purpose, we conducted semi-structured individual interviews with 10th-grade students at secondary schools in Germany (n = 46; female = 47.8%; MAge = 15.59, SD = 0.78). We found that the health dimension prevailed in students’ conceptions of sustainable nutrition; however, the more dimensions the students considered, the less importance was attached to the health dimension. The ecological dimension, in turn, became more prominent as the students’ conceptions became more elaborate. Many students neglected the social, economic, and especially the cultural dimensions. Furthermore, alternative conceptions of the terminology of sustainable nutrition, which did not correspond to the scientific concept, were identified. Students had difficulties linking the ecological, social, economic, and cultural dimensions to sustainable nutrition due to a predominant egocentric perspective on nutrition, which primarily entails focusing on one’s own body. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable diet; pupils; preconceptions; understanding; qualitative interview study; Education for Sustainable Development sustainable diet; pupils; preconceptions; understanding; qualitative interview study; Education for Sustainable Development
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Dornhoff, M.; Hörnschemeyer, A.; Fiebelkorn, F. Students’ Conceptions of Sustainable Nutrition. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5242.

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