Date of Award
John J. Green
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Cooking Matters classes in producing improvement in individuals’ cooking skills and confidence, as well as their eating behaviors, shopping skills, and perceptions of cooking in rural Charleston, MS. These classes have reported great success in more urban areas such as Atlanta, GA; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington, DC; however, different challenges may be faced in rural Mississippi. To study the effectiveness of the interventions in a new context, pre- and post-intervention self-report surveys were performed and evaluated using Wilcoxon statistical analysis as well as paired sample t tests, and bootstrap confidence intervals. Following these, two focus groups with a total of twenty participants were conducted. From the surveys, healthy food behaviors were seen to have increased, as well as their frequencies to choose healthy food alternatives and the frequencies to engage in healthier eating behaviors. A decrease was seen in individuals’ unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as their negative perceptions of cooking. The most dramatic change was seen in the participants’ cooking confidence. From the focus groups, it was seen that five participants reported pushback from loved ones as a leading struggle in implementing changes in their lives. Participants reported success in implementing substitutions and adjustments in meals they normally ate seventeen times across the two focus groups. The information gathered from this project can be used to change the classes in the future and inform similar interventions by emphasizing the importance of socialization in association with health behaviors.
Fournier, Lindsay, "An Evaluation of Community Based Food Intervention: Cooking Matters in Charleston, MS" (2020). Honors Theses. 1316.
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