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Evaluation of the effectiveness of the Ministry of Food cooking programme on self-reported food consumption and confidence with cooking

  • Jayne Hutchinson (a1), Jennifer F Watt (a1), Emma K Strachan (a2) and Janet E Cade (a1)

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Ministry of Food (MoF) cooking programme on self-reported food consumption and confidence with cooking.

Design

A quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the MoF 8-week cooking course, using a pre-test/post-test study. Pre, post and 6-month follow-up quantitative outcomes were measured using self-administered questionnaires to record number of portions of fruit and vegetables (F&V) consumed per day, number of snacks consumed per day and participants’ cooking confidence levels (highest score of 5). Qualitative evaluations were undertaken using structured telephone interviews.

Setting

MoF centre in Leeds Kirkgate Market, UK.

Subjects

Adults (n 795, 43 % male) on MoF courses from 2010 to 2014, 462 of whom completed questionnaires at all three time points.

Results

Six months after the course, self-reported F&V intake increased significantly by 1·5 (95 % CI 1·3, 1·6, P<0·001) portions per day to 4·1 (95 % CI 4·0, 4·3). The number of snacks reported decreased significantly over the same period by −0·9 (CI−1·0, −0·8, P<0·001) snacks per day. Cooking confidence increased over the same period by 1·7 (95 % CI 1·6, 1·9, P<0·001) to 4·4 (CI 4·4, 4·5). Age and disability, but not deprivation or ethnicity, were associated with changes in self-reported F&V intake and cooking confidence scores at 6 months; and gender with the latter outcome. Qualitative results supported quantitative findings and revealed specific beneficial gains in cooking skills/preparation, nutritional awareness, food purchasing and other social benefits.

Conclusions

MoF community-based cooking interventions can have significant positive effects on dietary behaviour, food choice and cooking confidence.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email j.hutchinson1@leeds.ac.uk

References

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