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Evaluation of a cooking skills programme in parents of young children – a longitudinal study

  • Ada L Garcia (a1), Elisa Vargas (a1), Po S Lam (a1), David B Shennan (a2), Fiona Smith (a3) and Alison Parrett (a1)...



To evaluate longitudinally the effectiveness of a cooking programme on self-reported confidence about cooking skills and food consumption patterns in parents of young children.


An evaluation of cooking programmes delivered by National Health Service (NHS) community food workers using a single group pre-test/post-test repeated measures design. A shortened version of a validated questionnaire at baseline, post intervention and 1-year follow-up determined confidence in cooking using basic ingredients, following a simple recipe, tasting new foods, preparing and cooking new foods on consumption of ready meals, vegetables and fruit.


Deprived communities in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.


Parents of nursery age children, 97 % were female and <45 years old.


One hundred and two participants had completed baseline and post-intervention questionnaires. Forty-four participants contacted by telephone completed a follow-up questionnaire. In participants who completed all questionnaires (n 44), median confidence in four aspects of cooking increased significantly from baseline to post intervention (P < 0·001) but was retained at 1-year follow-up only for following a simple recipe and preparing and cooking new foods. Improved food consumption patterns were reported from baseline to post intervention (ready-meal consumption reduced from 2-4 times/week to 1 time/week, P < 0·001; vegetable consumption increased from 5–6 times/week to 1 time/d, P < 0·001; fruit consumption increased from 5–6 times/week to 1 time/d, P < 0·001) and remained at 1-year follow-up.


The cooking programmes appeared to improve cooking confidence and food consumption patterns in the target group and some of these changes were retained after 1 year.

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