Watching TV Cooking Programs: Effects on Actual Food Intake Among Children

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 Jan;52(1):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.09.016. Epub 2019 Nov 7.


Objective: To test the effects of a cooking program on healthy food decisions.

Design: An experimental between-subjects design with 3 conditions: healthy, unhealthy, and control.

Setting: Class settings in 5 different schools.

Participants: One hundred twenty-five children between 10 and 12 years of age.

Interventions: Video clips of cooking program containing healthy foods versus cooking program containing unhealthy foods versus control program.

Main outcome measures: Healthy versus unhealthy food choice.

Analysis: Logistic regression analysis, with the control condition as a reference in the first contrast test and the unhealthy food condition as a reference in the second contrast, to examine effects on food choice between conditions.

Results: Children who watched the cooking program with healthy foods had a higher probability of selecting healthy food than children who watched the cooking program with unhealthy foods (P = .027), or with the control condition (P = .039).

Conclusions and implications: These findings indicated a priming effect of the foods the children were exposed to, showing that nutrition education guided by reactivity theory can be promising. Cooking programs may affect the food choices of children and could be an effective method in combination with other methods to improve their dietary intake.

Keywords: children; cooking programs; eating behavior; food cues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cooking*
  • Cues
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Male
  • Television*