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Appetite. 2015 Jul;90:131-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.02.035. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Viewers vs. doers. The relationship between watching food television and BMI.

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Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA.
Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address:


The objective of this study was to examine where nutritional gatekeepers obtain information about new foods, and whether information source is associated with Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as whether any association varied according to how often the participant cooked from scratch. A national panel survey of 501 females aged 20-35 assessed how participants obtained information on new recipes, and asked a series of questions about their cooking habits, their weight and height. Linear regressions were run to determine associations between information source, cooking from scratch, and BMI. Obtaining information from cooking shows was positively correlated with BMI (p <0.05), as was obtaining information from social media (p <0.05), whereas obtaining information from other print, online, or in-person sources was not significantly associated with BMI. A significant interaction between watching cooking shows and cooking from scratch indicated that cooking from scratch, as well as watching cooking shows was associated with higher BMI (p <0.05). Obtaining information about new foods from television cooking shows or social media - versus other sources - appears to have a unique relationship with BMI. Furthermore, watching cooking shows may have a differential effect on BMI for those who are merely TV "viewers," versus those who are "doers." Promoting healthy foods on cooking shows may be one way to positively influence the weight status of "doers" as well as "viewers."


BMI body mass index; Cooking; Food information; Food television; Young women

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