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.