Collaboration with Newcastle University.
Dietary improvements have the potential to reduce the prevalence of obesity and certain chronic diseases. Determinants of diet are complex, although increasing consideration is being given to cooking skills and whether improvements to these could lead to dietary improvements.
This research, funded by the UK Dept of Health, had three aims: 1) to analyse existing data to explore associations between cooking skills and diet in the UK population; 2) to conduct analysis of an existing cooking skills intervention to determine its theoretical basis and fidelity; and 3) to conduct a pilot study that would simulate a proposed definitive RCT of a cooking skills intervention. The outcome of these three aims answered the overarching research questions of whether cooking skills interventions were likely to be effective and whether robust evaluation of cooking skills interventions was both practical and feasible.
ISMH’s element of the study assessed the extent to which delivery of the intervention, in practice, adheres to the protocol contained within the course manual in terms of specified content and teaching methods, and the extent to which it was capable of engaging participants. It also assessed the extent to which delivery of the programme was typically consistent, or variable, across intervention sites, at different points in the course curriculum, and at the same point in the curriculum but at different points in time. In order to assess these, we conducted observations of two sessions at each of the six intervention sites.