Date of this Version
The Author(s) 2019
Background: Increased intakes of ready-made and fast foods paralleled with decreased homemade food consumption have been associated with increased rates of obesity. Researchers have shown associations between cooking self-efficacy (SE) and cooking frequency (CF) with dietary quality and weight status. Some cooking interventions have shown positive associations with dietary outcomes, such as increased fruit and vegetable intake and decreased fast food consumption. There is still much unknown about SE and CF, especially among youth.
Objective: Determine baseline SE and CF and the associations with dietary quality and body mass index (BMI) of youth enrolled in iCook 4H.
Methods: Youth (n = 228, ages 9-10 years) completed online surveys assessing SE, CF, dietary quality, and demographics. Anthropometrics were collected to calculate BMI-for-age percentiles and weight categories. Descriptive statistics were completed for CF, SE, BMI categories, and demographics. Differences in CF and SE by sex, race, and participation in government assistance programs were determined through independent-sample t tests. Pearson correlations were used to assess the association between dietary quality and CF and SE. Associations between CF and dietary quality were assessed further through 2-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) that included CF and sex and CF and race as independent variables. Associations between SE and CF and BMI were assessed through ANOVAs.
Results : Thirty-seven percent of youth were overweight or obese. Females reported significantly higher CF than males (P = .042). Cooking frequency was positively associated with dietary quality (P < .001), but BMI was not associated with dietary quality. SE was not associated with dietary quality or BMI.
Conclusion: Based on results, CF was positively associated with dietary quality among youth. More research is needed to assess how different types of cooking relate to diet and BMI. Interventions are needed to determine whether increasing CF leads to better diet outcomes.