Cooking classes outperform cooking demonstrations for college sophomores

J Nutr Educ Behav. Jul-Aug 2004;36(4):197-203. doi: 10.1016/s1499-4046(06)60234-0.


Objective: To determine if cooking classes improve subjects' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward cooking.

Design: Comparison of outcomes of 2 treatment groups (demonstration vs hands-on cooking classes) using pre- and posttests.

Setting: University cooking laboratories.

Participants: First-semester sophomores (n = 65) who were 25% male with a mean age of 19.7 years.

Intervention: The intervention group (n = 33) attended 4 2-hour cooking classes, based on Social Learning Theory, and a supermarket tour. The demonstration group (n = 32) attended a cooking demonstration. Subjects completed 6 surveys.

Main outcome measures: Changes in attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding cooking.

Analysis: Descriptive statistics were used to compare demographic variables. Analysis of covariance and chi-square analyses were used to compare outcome variables.

Results: Analysis revealed no gender differences. Participants displayed positive shifts on attitude scales. The intervention group had a pattern of larger positive shifts (0.4-0.7 vs 0.1-0.5 gain), some of which were statistically significant. Participants displayed positive, but not statistically significant, shifts in knowledge and some behaviors.

Conclusion and implications: The intervention group experienced more statistically significant gains in attitudes and appeared to have a better pattern of gains in cooking-related knowledge and behaviors. Given limited resources, demonstration cooking classes could reach larger audiences in varied settings, but the impact would likely be weaker than that of cooking classes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Cooking / standards
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Students / psychology*