Culinary Education Programs for Children in Low-Income Households: A Scoping Review

Children (Basel). 2020 May 13;7(5):47. doi: 10.3390/children7050047.


Child obesity in the United States is at an all-time high, particularly among underserved populations. Home-cooked meals are associated with lower rates of obesity. Helping children develop culinary skills has been associated with improved nutrition. The purpose of this study is to report results from a scoping review of culinary education interventions with children from low-income families. Three databases and hand searches of relevant articles were examined. Retained articles met inclusionary criteria. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed, as appropriate. A data extraction template was developed. Data were independently extracted and verified. Only nine out of 370 articles met the inclusionary criteria and were included in the review. Most interventions were school-based, used a quasi-experimental design, and recruited minority children. Children-only was the primary intervention focus. Primary outcomes were mostly psychosocial from child self-report. Most interventions focused on children only and were guided by Social Cognitive Theory. Most reported stakeholder involvement; however, type and degree varied. All had an in-person component; only one used technology. Few reported training program leaders. Culinary education programs for children from low-income families could benefit from a broader theoretical grounding, program leader training, and greater parental involvement.

Keywords: culinary education; elementary aged children; low-income.

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  • Review

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