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Child Obes. 2013 Dec;9(6):549-56. doi: 10.1089/chi.2013.0076.

Cooking with Kids positively affects fourth graders' vegetable preferences and attitudes and self-efficacy for food and cooking.

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1 Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University , Fort Collins, CO.



Cooking with Kids (CWK), an experiential school-based food education program, has demonstrated modest influence on fruit and vegetable preference, food and cooking attitudes (AT), and self-efficacy (SE) among fourth-grade, mostly low-income Hispanic students in a quasiexperimental study with an inconsistent baseline. Effect was notably strong for boys and those without previous cooking experience. The aim of this project was to assess the effect of CWK with a mostly non-Hispanic white sample that assured no previous CWK exposure.


The randomized, controlled assessment of CWK effect on fourth graders was conducted with 257 students in 12 classes in four public schools. CWK included a 1-hour introductory lesson, three 2-hour cooking classes, and three 1-hour fruit and vegetable tasting sessions led by trained food educators during the school day for one semester. Fruit preference, vegetable preference, and cooking AT and SE were assessed with a tested 35-item measure, shown to have test-retest reliability. Univariate analyses considered gender and previous cooking experience.


Intervention efficacy was confirmed in this mostly white sample (75%; 79% with previous cooking experience; 54% girls). Increases in vegetable preference, AT, and SE were all significantly greater in CWK students with ╬Ěp (2) of 0.03, 0.02, and 0.06, respectively. CWK most strongly improved AT and SE for boys without previous cooking experience.


CWK significantly improved fourth-grade students' vegetable preferences, AT, and SE toward food and cooking, which are factors important to healthful eating and obesity prevention. Noncookers, especially boys, benefitted from this intervention.

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