A cooking skill scale was developed to measure cooking skills in a European adult population, and the relationship between cooking skills and the frequency of consumption of various food groups were examined. Moreover, it was determined which sociodemographic and psychological variables predict cooking skills. The data used in the present study are based on the first (2010) and second (2011) surveys of a yearly paper-and-pencil questionnaire (Swiss Food Panel). Data from 4436 participants (47.2% males) with a mean age of 55.5 years (SD=14.6, range 21-99) were available for analysis. The cooking skills scale was validated using a test-retest analysis, confirming that this new scale is a reliable and consistent instrument. Cooking enjoyment was the most important predictor for cooking skills, especially for men. Women had higher cooking skills in all age groups. Cooking skills correlated positively with weekly vegetable consumption, but negatively with weekly convenience food consumption frequency, even while holding the effect of health consciousness related to eating constant. In summary, cooking skills may help people to meet nutrition guidelines in their daily nutrition supply. They allow people to make healthier food choices. It is, therefore, important to teach children and teenagers how to cook and to encourage them to develop their cooking skills.
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