Cooking Matters for Adults Improves Food Resource Management Skills and Self-confidence Among Low-Income Participants
Objective: Determine the impact of Cooking Matters for Adults (CM) on food resource management (FRM) skills and self-confidence 6 months after course completion.
Design: Quasi-experimental design with nonequivalent comparison group and 6-month follow-up.
Setting: Cooking Matters for Adults programs in CA, CO, ME, MA, MI, and OR.
Participants: Participants in CM attending classes in April to July, 2016 (n = 332); comparison group (n = 336).
Intervention: Cooking Matters for Adults educated low-income adults to shop for and prepare healthy meals economically using hands-on meal preparation, facilitated discussion, and an interactive grocery store tour. Classes met for 2 hours, once a week for 6 weeks.
Main Outcome Measure(s): Food resource management practices; FRM self-confidence (ie, in shopping for and preparing healthy foods on a budget); worrying that food might run out.
Analysis: Pearson's chi-square test and t tests identified measures associated with outcomes of interest and between-group differences. Repeated-measures linear mixed models with fixed and random effects were used to examine differences in outcomes between participants in CM and nonequivalent comparison group and to estimate the treatment effect of the program at 3 and 6 months after course completion.
Results: Six months after course completion, CM participants demonstrated improvements in all outcome measures of interest: Use of FRM practices improved (P = .002) as did FRM confidence (P <.001). Participants also worried less that food would run out before they had money to buy more (P = .03).
Conclusions and Implications: This study demonstrated a positive impact of including FRM skills and confidence building in a nutrition education program, the effects of which could be seen for 6 months after participation in the program. Equipping low-income families with FRM skills allowed them to access healthier foods even during times of hardship.