Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): The Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) provides summer high school programming and job development focusing on peer nutrition education. This study examines self-assessments of adolescents at the conclusion of the program compared to a control group of Philadelphia high school students who did not participate in the program.
Objective: To assess and compare adolescent confidence in cooking skills at the end of a six week nutrition education program.
Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: The AUNI Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) summer program engaged 36 primarily African-American adolescents for six weeks, 20 hours per week, in cooking, nutrition education, and peer education and community outreach activities. Evidence-based nutrition curriculums were used along with Career and College Readiness training. At the program conclusion, students were given a survey to self-assess their cooking skills and knowledge.
Outcome Measures and Analysis: The survey was constructed with a chef who determined cooking skills necessary for home and professional settings. Three questions were asked about skills regarding working with community members. Adolescents were asked to rate their skills on a scale of zero (no knowledge) to five (expert). The same survey, with the omission of one program specific question, was administered to students who did not participate in the program. Results were averaged for each question and each group.
Results: For eight of the nine questions, program students (n = 32) average rating of their skills were statistically significantly higher (P < .01) than the averages of non-program students (n = 35). For all questions, program students averaged above four, demonstrating a high level of skill confidence.
Conclusions and Implications: Nutrition education programs that include a skill building and community outreach component could increase students' confidence in their own cooking abilities. Based on existing research, this could have an impact on improved nutrition related behaviors.
Funding: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education.
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