Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


First Advisor

Linda Boeckner

Second Advisor

Michelle Krehbiel

Date of this Version



Warday, Courtney A, "WE COOK: FUN WITH FOOD AND FITNESS: IMPACT OF A YOUTH COOKING PROGRAM ON THE HOME ENVIRONMENT" (2017). Nutrition & Health Sciences Dissertations & Theses.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Nutrition and Health Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Linda Boeckner. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2017

Copyright (c) Courtney Ann Warday



US food preparation habits have decreased since 1965 (Smith, et al, 2013). Children are rarely involved in food preparation in the home (Fulkerson, et al, 2008). Cooking frequency has been positively associated with healthy eating (Raber, et al, 2016). Food consumption behaviors have changed in the US in the last few decades possibly contributing to the obesity epidemic (Understanding Childhood Obesity, 2010).


The purpose of this study is to examine how We Cook: Fun with Food and Fitness, an elementary youth cooking program impacts the home environment.


Participants were adult family members of youth involved in the WeCook: Fun with Food & Fitness program. At the end of the program, family members answered three open-ended questions to evaluate the impact WeCook had. There were 30 youth participating in the WeCook program and 14 families that participated in the study.


Six themes emerged through data analysis including, desire for increased family time, increased confidence, mixed messages from parents, children showing independence, positive attitudes toward food preparation, and transfer of skills from the WeCook curriculum to the home environment. Subthemes also emerged under the themes: desire for increased family time and transfer of skills from the WeCook curriculum to the home environment.


Results of this study reveal that cooking programs increase confidence and positive attitudes toward food preparation and involving the family may produce a transfer of skills to the home environment.

Advisors: Linda Boeckner & Michelle Krehbiel