The short-term effects of the COOK intervention on cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking in New Zealand adolescents
Background: Consumption of convenience foods is one factor that is potentially contributing to the high rates of obesity in New Zealand adolescents. The increased availability of these convenience foods now means that cooking skills are no longer needed to put food on the table. Cooking foods from scratch can often be a healthier way to consume food, however adolescents are no longer receiving adequate education to learn the basic cooking skills required to do this. Additionally, the lack of opportunities for them to learn to cook may lower their confidence (self-efficacy) for cooking, and therefore demotivate them to cook from scratch. Cooking programmes conducted overseas suggest that hands on cooking classes may be an effective method to improve cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking, however limitations with study design and methodology makes it difficult to determine their level of success. Additionally, little is known about what effect interventions in the home environment can have on adolescents’ self-efficacy for cooking. Objective: To determine whether participation in phase one (hands on cooking classes) and phase two (take home food bags) of the COOK programme, affects short-term cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking in adolescents from Dunedin, New Zealand. Design: A randomised control trial was initiated in adolescents aged ‘13-15 years’. Participants were randomly assigned to the control group (n=18) or the intervention group (n=66). Participants in the intervention group attended a 5-day cooking programme (COOK week) and then received take home food bags, one bag a week for six weeks. A self- administered questionnaire assessing mechanical cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking was completed at baseline, and at seven weeks (immediately post the six weeks of food bags). Additional questions for these measures were taken immediately after the cooking programme (before the food bags were initiated) in the intervention only. Results: The intervention group showed increases in total cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking post intervention. These increases were significantly greater than changes observed in the control group for both the cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking. Additionally, self-efficacy in the intervention group increased significantly from pre-to-post COOK week, and these changes were maintained up until the end of the take home food bags. Conclusion: This interim analysis provides evidence that the COOK programme may have the ability to increase adolescents’ cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking in the short- term. Additionally, take home food bags may play an important role in transferring the self- efficacy gained within cooking classes, into the home environment. Follow-up analysis of the COOK study will help to provide information on the long-term effects that this intervention could have on adolescent cooking skills and self-efficacy for cooking.
Advisor: Skidmore, Paula; Black, Katherine; Thomson, Carla
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Human Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Cooking; Food preparation; Cooking programme; adolescent; youth; Cooking Skills; Confidence; Self-efficacy
Research Type: Thesis