Objective: To examine the association between frequency of assisting with home meal preparation and fruit and vegetable preference and self-efficacy for making healthier food choices among grade 5 children in Alberta, Canada.
Design: A cross-sectional survey design was used. Children were asked how often they helped prepare food at home and rated their preference for twelve fruits and vegetables on a 3-point Likert-type scale. Self-efficacy was measured with six items on a 4-point Likert-type scale asking children their level of confidence in selecting and eating healthy foods at home and at school.
Setting: Schools (n =151) located in Alberta, Canada.
Subjects: Grade 5 students (n = 3398).
Results: A large majority (83-93 %) of the study children reported helping in home meal preparation at least once monthly. Higher frequency of helping prepare and cook food at home was associated with higher fruit and vegetable preference and with higher self-efficacy for selecting and eating healthy foods.
Conclusions: Encouraging children to be more involved in home meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy. These findings suggest that the incorporation of activities teaching children how to prepare simple and healthy meals in health promotion programmes could potentially lead to improvement in dietary habits.