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P67 Flint Kids Cook: Feasibility and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Cooking and Nutrition Education Program for Children

      Background

      Programs that include cooking may be more effective in improving diet quality among children than nutrition education alone. Flint Kids Cook was created in October 2017 as a pilot cooking and nutrition program for children in Flint, Michigan. Unique in design, the program was co-facilitated by a chef and dietitian and offered inside a farmers’ market commercial kitchen.

      Objective

      To assess feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Flint Kids Cook.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      This pre-post pilot study included six weekly sessions (90 minutes each) at a local farmers’ market. Children were recruited from partnering pediatric offices and community-based organizations in Flint. Sessions included 10-12 children (8-18 years) who actively prepared two dishes that highlighted a specific food group. The final session was a celebratory meal that children prepared for their families.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Feasibility was assessed using retention rates. To evaluate effectiveness, baseline and exit scores related to attitude towards cooking and cooking self-efficacy were compared using paired samples t-tests. Attitude towards cooking scores ranged from 6-30 (lower scores indicated a more positive cooking attitude) and cooking self-efficacy from 8-40 (lower scores reflected greater cooking self-efficacy).

      Results

      Of the 71 children who attended the program, the majority (73%) completed at least four sessions. Most participants (mean age 10.8 ± 2.3 years) were African American (86%) and Flint residents (78%). Approximately half were female (51%). Among the 51 children who completed assessments, significant improvements (P = .012) were observed in mean attitude towards cooking scores from baseline (8.75 ± 2.89) to program exit (7.87 ± 2.46). Mean cooking self-efficacy scores also improved significantly (P = .002) from baseline (13.75 ± 4.50) to program exit (11.53 ± 3.88).

      Conclusion

      Flint Kids Cook could be modeled in similar communities to engage children and promote positive changes in cooking attitudes and self-efficacy.
      Funding: Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

      Appendix. Supplementary data