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Article

Dawn Mc Dowell, Una McMahon-Beattie and Amy Burns

The purpose of this paper is to consider the importance of structured and consistent practical cookery skills intervention in the 11-14-year age group. This paper reviews…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the importance of structured and consistent practical cookery skills intervention in the 11-14-year age group. This paper reviews the impact and development of statutory and non-statutory cooking skills interventions in the UK and considers limitations in relation to life skills training. Currently practical cooking skills are mainly derived from two sources namely the non-statutory sector (community cooking interventions) and the statutory sector (Home Economics teaching).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares the two interventions in terms of effective long-term outcomes. Non-statutory cooking interventions are generally lottery funded and therefore tend to be single teaching blocks of, on average, six to eight weeks targeting mostly low-income adults and the literature emphasises a deficit of empirical measurement of the long-term impact. In contrast Home Economics classes offer a structured learning environment across genders and socio-economic groups. In addition it is taught over a substantial time frame to facilitate a process of practical skills development (with relevant theoretical teaching), reflection, group communication and consolidation, where according to current educational theory (Kolb, 1984) learning is more thoroughly embedded with the increased potential for longer term impact.

Findings

The review identifies the limitations of too many community initiatives or “project-itis” (Caraher, 2012, p. 10) and instead supports the use of the school curriculum to best maximise the learning of practical cooking skills.

Originality/value

This review will be of particular value to educationalists and health policy decision makers.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 117 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article

Jemma Orr and Alison McCamley

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Eatwell for Life (EWL) programme, with a particular focus on longer term effectiveness in terms of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Eatwell for Life (EWL) programme, with a particular focus on longer term effectiveness in terms of dietary behaviour and the wider impact. EWL is a six-week community-based dietary intervention which aims to increase nutritional knowledge, cooking confidence and provide the necessary skills to support behavioural change in relation to eating a balanced diet. There have been many evaluations of community-based dietary interventions, but most focus on brief measures and changes examined at the end of each course.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed method evaluation was conducted using a self-reported questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured telephone interviews. A follow-up evaluation was conducted at 3, 6 and 12 months with a purposive sample of EWL participants.

Findings

A total of 66 participants completed both pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. A total of 22 participants took part in the qualitative follow-up evaluation. The mixed method evaluation demonstrates improvements in participants’ fruit and vegetable consumption and a reduction in participants’ sugar consumption. Qualitative data highlight key themes such as “cooking from basic ingredients”, “knowledge of key healthy eating messages”, “changes in eating, cooking and shopping habits” and “wider influences on family and friends’ diets”.

Originality/value

This paper is useful to public health nutritionists and other practitioners delivering community-based dietary and cooking skills programmes and those commissioning such provision. It contributes to existing evidence of sustained change over time targeting those in areas of high deprivation.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 119 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Content available
Article

Jeremy Segrott, Jo Holliday, Simon Murphy, Sarah Macdonald, Joan Roberts, Laurence Moore and Ceri Phillips

The teaching of cooking is an important aspect of school-based efforts to promote healthy diets among children, and is frequently done by external agencies. Within a…

Abstract

Purpose

The teaching of cooking is an important aspect of school-based efforts to promote healthy diets among children, and is frequently done by external agencies. Within a limited evidence base relating to cooking interventions in schools, there are important questions about how interventions are integrated within school settings. The purpose of this paper is to examine how a mobile classroom (Cooking Bus) sought to strengthen connections between schools and cooking, and drawing on the concept of the sociotechnical network, theorise the interactions between the Bus and school contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Methods comprised a postal questionnaire to 76 schools which had received a Bus visit, and case studies of the Bus’ work in five schools, including a range of school sizes and urban/rural locations. Case studies comprised observation of Cooking Bus sessions, and interviews with school staff.

Findings

The Cooking Bus forged connections with schools through aligning intervention and schools’ goals, focussing on pupils’ cooking skills, training teachers and contributing to schools’ existing cooking-related activities. The Bus expanded its sociotechnical network through post-visit integration of cooking activities within schools, particularly teachers’ use of intervention cooking kits.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights the need for research on the long-term impacts of school cooking interventions, and better understanding of the interaction between interventions and school contexts.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the limited evidence base on school-based cooking interventions by theorising how cooking interventions relate to school settings, and how they may achieve integration.

Details

Health Education, vol. 117 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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Article

Avril Blamey, Jacki Gordon, Kim Newstead and Jacqueline McDowell

The purpose of this paper is to present learning on the strategies used by cooking skills practitioners and the programme theories, behaviour change mechanisms/contexts…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present learning on the strategies used by cooking skills practitioners and the programme theories, behaviour change mechanisms/contexts and intended outcomes associated with these in varied contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Grey literature from Scottish cooking skills courses were reviewed using realist principles. Intervention implementation variables were identified and iteratively coded to uncover intended intervention strategies and programme theories. The lack of robust evaluation processes and outcome data in the grey literature prevented the testing of intended programme theories against outcomes. Alternatively, implementation strategies were aligned against behavioural-theory constructs contained in national guidance. Prioritised theories were further clarified/refined using practitioner and participant focus group data. Learning was used to inform future practice/evaluation.

Findings

Courses targeted and reached vulnerable individuals. Practitioners articulated multiple theories and assumptions about how strategies may work. Numerous strategies and behaviour constructs were used to target, tailor and reinforce cooking/food and wider social outcomes. Mechanisms were assumed to be triggered by different contexts and lead to varied outcomes. Strategies used were consistent with evidenced behaviour change constructs and guidelines. Interventions aimed to achieve non-cooking/social outcomes as well as cooking ones – including potential mediators of cooking behaviour, e.g. self-confidence. Contexts facilitated/limited the use of certain strategies. Limitations in course design, reporting and self-evaluation need to be addressed.

Practical implications

Recommendations for improving intervention commissioning, design and evaluation using realist principles are provided.

Originality/value

Learning addresses gaps in knowledge about the implementation of cooking skills interventions identified from systematic reviews and can improve course design and evaluation.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 119 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article

Martine Stead, Martin Caraher, Wendy Wrieden, Patricia Longbottom, Karen Valentine and Annie Anderson

One of the many barriers to a healthier diet in low‐income communities is a presumed lack of practical food skills. This article reports findings from exploratory…

Abstract

One of the many barriers to a healthier diet in low‐income communities is a presumed lack of practical food skills. This article reports findings from exploratory qualitative research conducted with potential participants in a cooking skills intervention, in low income communities in Scotland. The research found widely varying levels of skill and confidence regarding cooking, supported the need for a community‐based intervention approach, and demonstrated the importance of consumer research to inform the content of interventions. Challenges the view that low income communities lack skills, suggesting that food skills should be defined more broadly than “cooking from scratch”. Other barriers to healthy eating, such as poverty, food access and taste preferences, remain important.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 106 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article

Andrea Begley, Danielle Gallegos and Helen Vidgen

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of cooking skill interventions (CSIs) targeting adults to improve dietary intakes in public health nutrition settings.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of cooking skill interventions (CSIs) targeting adults to improve dietary intakes in public health nutrition settings.

Design/methodology/approach

A scoping review of the literature was used to identify and assess the quality and effectiveness of Australian single-strategy CSIs and multi-strategy programmes that included cooking for independent healthy people older than 16 years from 1992 to 2015.

Findings

There were only 15 interventions (n=15) identified for review and included CSIs as single strategies (n=8) or as part of multi-strategy programmes (n=7) over 23 years. The majority of the interventions were rated as weak in quality (66 per cent) due to their study design, lack of control groups, lack of validated evaluation measures and small sample sizes. Just over half (53 per cent) of the CSIs reviewed described some measurement related to improved dietary behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

There is inconclusive evidence that CSIs are effective in changing dietary behaviours in Australia. However, they are valued by policymakers and practitioners and used in public health nutrition programmes, particularly for indigenous groups.

Originality/value

This is the first time that CSIs have been reviewed in an Australian context and they provide evidence of the critical need to improve the quality CSIs to positively influence dietary behaviour change in Australia.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 119 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article

Julia A. Wolfson, Stephanie Bostic, Jacob Lahne, Caitlin Morgan, Shauna C. Henley, Jean Harvey and Amy Trubek

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of – and need for – an expanded understanding of cooking (skills and knowledge) to inform research on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of – and need for – an expanded understanding of cooking (skills and knowledge) to inform research on the connection between cooking and health.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes a concept of “food agency” and contrasts it with how cooking is commonly conceived in food and nutrition literature. A food agency-based pedagogy and proposals for using it are also introduced.

Findings

Cooking is a complex process that may be crucial for making a difference in the contemporary problems of diet-related chronic diseases. There are two interlinked problems with present research on cooking. First, cooking has yet to be adequately conceptualized for the design and evaluation of effective public health and nutrition interventions. The context within which food-related decisions and actions occur has been neglected. Instead, the major focus has been on discrete mechanical tasks. In particular, recipes are relied upon despite no clear evidence that recipes move people from knowledge to action. Second, given the incomplete theorization and definition of this vital everyday practice, intervention designs tend to rely on assumptions over theory. This creates certain forms of tautological reasoning when claims are made about how behavior changes. A comprehensive theory of food agency provides a nuanced understanding of daily food practices and clarifies how to teach cooking skills that are generalizable throughout varied life contexts.

Originality/value

This commentary is of value to academics studying cooking-related behavior and public health practitioners implementing and evaluating cooking interventions.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 119 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article

Julie M. Parsons

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the benefits of cooking one-to-one, alongside commensality (eating together) for improving offenders’/ex-offenders’ health and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the benefits of cooking one-to-one, alongside commensality (eating together) for improving offenders’/ex-offenders’ health and well-being, measured in terms of improved social skills, cultural competencies and successful resettlement.

Design/methodology/approach

Fieldwork conducted over nine months included; participant observation of lunch times (n=56) and cooking one-to-one with trainees (n=27), semi-structured interviews (n=23) and a “photo-dialogue” focus group with trainees (n=5) and staff (n=2).

Findings

Commensality is beneficial for offenders’ health and well-being. Further, preparing, cooking, serving and sharing food is a powerful means of improving self-esteem and developing a pro-social identity.

Research limitations/implications

The original focus of the research was commensality; it was during the study that the potential for cooking as an additional tool for health and well-being emerged. A future longitudinal intervention would be beneficial to examine whether the men continued to cook for others once released from prison and/or finished at the resettlement scheme.

Practical implications

Everyday cooking to share with others is an invaluable tool for improving self-worth. It has the potential to build pro-social self-concepts and improve human, social and cultural capital.

Social implications

Cooking lunch for others is a part of strengths-based approach to resettlement that values community involvement.

Originality/value

Cooking and eating with offenders/ex-offenders is highly unusual. Further hands-on cooking/eating activities are beneficial in terms of aiding self-confidence and self-respect, which are vital for improving offenders’/ex-offenders’ health and well-being.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 119 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Content available
Article

Dermot Breslin, Stephen Dobson and Nicola Smith

Understanding and predicting the behaviours of households within a community is a key concern for fire services as they plan to deliver effective and efficient public…

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding and predicting the behaviours of households within a community is a key concern for fire services as they plan to deliver effective and efficient public services. In this paper, an agent-based modelling approach is used to deepen understandings of changing patterns of behaviour within a community. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This “Premonition” model draws on historical data of fire incidents and community interventions (e.g. home safety checks, fire safety campaigns, etc.) collated by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, UK, to unpack patterns of changing household behaviours within the region.

Findings

Findings from simulations carried out using the Premonition model, show that by targeting close-knit groups of connected households, the effectiveness of preventative interventions and utilisation of associated resources is enhanced. Furthermore, by repeating these interventions with the same households over time, risk factors within the wider area are further reduced.

Originality/value

The study thus shows that annual repeat visits to fewer and more targeted high-risk postcodes increase the overall reduction in risk within an area, when compared with a scattered coverage approach using one-off (i.e. not repeat) household visits within a postcode.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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Article

Richard Shaun Walls, Rodney Eksteen, Charles Kahanji and Antonio Cicione

Informal settlements are inherently unstructured in nature, lack adequate services, regularly have high population densities and can experience social problems. Thus…

Abstract

Purpose

Informal settlements are inherently unstructured in nature, lack adequate services, regularly have high population densities and can experience social problems. Thus, fires can easily propagate rapidly through such areas, leaving thousands homeless in a single fire. The purpose of this paper is to present an appraisal of various interventions and strategies to improve fire safety in informal settlements in South Africa (globally, similar settlements are known as slums, ghettos, favelas, shantytowns, etc.), considering aspects of both technical suitability and social suitability.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focusses on three specific aspects: ignition risk management, active fire protection interventions and passive fire protection interventions. These are presented within a framework to outline how they may mitigate the impact of fires.

Findings

Often “solutions” proposed to improve fire safety either lack a sound engineering basis, thus becoming technically inefficient, or do not consider social circumstances and community responses in settlements, thereby becoming practically, socially or economically unsuitable. It must be understood that there is no “quick fix” to this significant problem, but rather a combination of interventions can improve fire safety in general. A broad understanding of the various options available is essential when addressing this problem, which this paper seeks to provide.

Practical implications

This paper seeks to provide an overview to guide policymakers and organisations by illustrating both the advantages/benefits and disadvantages/challenges of the interventions and strategies currently being rolled out, as well as potential alternatives.

Originality/value

A broad but succinct appraisal is provided that gives insight and direction for improving fire safety in informal settlements. It is hoped that the challenges associated with the fire safety interventions discussed can be addressed and improved over time.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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