Abstract P412: Simple Cooking with Heart: Culinary Skill-Based Education Improves Diet Quality and Nutrition Literacy
Background: Meals eaten away from home, particularly at fast-food restaurants, tend to have more calories, saturated and trans fats, and sodium and fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than meals prepared at home. This contributes to higher body mass indexes in children and adults.
Objective: The objective of the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart program is to test whether increased consumption of home-prepared meals improves the diet quality of Americans. The theoretical framework for this program is based upon the Socioecological Model and Social Cognitive Theory of behavior change, both proven to be successful in diet and lifestyle interventions.
Methods: Culinary skill-building based nutrition education that provides tools, recipes, instruction for preparing low-cost, heart healthy meals was administered to low-income families, specifically women (moms) ages 29-54. The program includes experiential skill acquisition through “live” cooking demonstrations and a robust program website which includes tools, low cost recipes and instructional skill videos. A third party 2-year program evaluation measured program impact on skill acquisition, attitudinal change, change in intent, and consumption pattern change.
Results: Participation in “live” cooking demonstrations was associated with positive attitudinal change and was effective in improving knowledge and skills. The program website and materials are effective interventions to improve culinary skill, attitudinal change and efficacy/confidence, and increase frequency of home prepared meals. An increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains consumption was also observed. This presentation will include new data regarding participants’ positive gains for social cognitive measures following a 30-day online focus group. Participants experienced positive gains regarding: raised awareness of the health and economic benefits of preparing meals at home, and outcome expectations. Participants also experienced an increase in efficacy and skill aquisition: increased confidence, skills and techniques to prepare meals at home (evaluation study participants identified higher at 30 days for statements reflecting healthful behavior and attitudes, including behavioral capacity, self-efficacy, intentions, outcome expectations and future/continued engagement.) An average of 4 new skills/techniques learned, respondents’ confidence in their ability to prepare healthful meals is near universal (94%) as is their willingness to do so (94%).
Conclusions: Using a culinary skill development programs is associated with improving diet quality and improving nutrition literacy.
Author Disclosures: L. McKnight: None. D. Vafiadis: None. K.F. Stitzel: None. N. Doolittle: None. K. Robb: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, National Center.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.