Online Program

Positive impact of a nutrition education program for low-income adults on food resource management skills and self-efficacy

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jennifer Pooler, MPP, Population Health Strategies, Altarum Institute, Portland, ME
Ruth Morgan, MPH, Center for Food Assistance and Nutrition, Altarum Institute, Washington, DC
Karen Wong, MHS, Share Our Strength, Washington, DC
Purpose.Cooking Matters for Adults is a 6-week long nutrition education course for low-income adults and families. The program sought to quantify the extent to which participants demonstrated improved skills and self-efficacy related to food resource management after completing the program.

Methods. The study employed a quasi-experimental intervention-comparison group design with data collection at baseline, immediate post-course completion, and 3 months post-completion. Paired t tests examined changes from baseline to immediate post for Cooking Matters participants; difference-in-difference analysis was conducted using intervention and comparison group responses at baseline and 3 months post to identify changes associated with participation in the program.

Results. From baseline to immediate post course completion, Cooking Matters participants saw a significant improvement in 5 behaviors related to food resource management (n=509; p<0.0001) and 3 measures of self-efficacy related to managing food resources (n=539; p<0.0001). At 3 months post controlling for changes in comparison group means, participants continued to demonstrate improved behaviors, increasing from 3.1 to 3.8 on a 5-point scale (n=752). Self-efficacy also improved on the 3 measures of self-efficacy (each on a 5-point scale): buying healthy foods on a budget (0.63; p<0.0001), making food money last all month (0.51; p<0.001), and making low-cost meals (0.61; p<0.0001).

Conclusions. Cooking Matters is being used as part of the SNAP-Ed curriculum in many states across the country. Targeted educational efforts combined with cooking demonstrations may help low-income adults increase their ability to purchase healthy foods on a budget, which may result in both increased food security and healthy eating behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of the Cooking Matters nutrition education program on low-income adults' ability and self-efficacy for managing food resources.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Self-Efficacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the co-director for the Cooking Matters Impact Study, and have contributed to numerous studies related to the WIC program. I also serve as the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program, for the HRSA, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.