Children’s cooking abilities are correlated with increased self-efficacy (SE) for selecting healthy foods and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Instruments that measure outcomes of nutrition education programs require psychometric assessment for face validity. Survey items related to cooking experience (CE), SE, and attitude used in a school-based cooking program were assessed for face validity. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Cognitive interviews were conducted with children who had completed third to fifth grades in Northern Colorado, USA. Interviews were examined using content analysis to derive categories for children’s concepts of cooking and making food and to assess survey item comprehension.
In total, 24 children participated. Most were white, non-Hispanic/Latino and half had most recently completed fourth grade. Categories related to “making food” and “cooking” included foods prepared with and without a heat source, baked goods/desserts, and activities used in meal/food preparation. Most participants comprehended the survey items and provided responses that were congruent with operational definitions established from identified themes, demonstrating face validity with this sample.
Children’s concepts of “cooking,” although robust, show interpersonal variation requiring a prudent approach toward intervention evaluation and supporting use of these face valid survey items. Consider revisions of survey items that add frequency qualifiers and explicit cooking examples as appropriate.
This study addresses a gap in the literature on children’s understanding of cooking and offers face valid survey items to measure CEs, skill, and attitudes.
The authors thank Kathryn Faulring, MPH, CHES of Rochester Institute of Technology Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition for her assistance in editing the manuscript. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture, under award number 2012-68001-19603. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the US Department of Agriculture.
Wayman, E., Komine, T., Lohse, B. and Cunningham-Sabo, L. (2017), "School-age cooking program assessment has face validity", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 5, pp. 1017-1027. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2016-0447
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