For whom and under what circumstances do nutrition-education cooking interventions work: a realist synthesis

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7 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To explore for whom and under what circumstances nutrition-education cooking interventions affect nutrition outcomes in adults. METHODS: A realist synthesis was undertaken. The CINAHL, Ovid Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched for literature published between 1980 and 2019, using the terms "cook" and "intervention" and their synonyms; 5759 articles were identified. Grey literature was sourced for further additional program context. A total of 23 articles (n = 11 programs) met inclusion criteria for analysis. Program data were coded in duplicate for context, outcome, and mechanism configurations, and used to build a refined program theory. RESULTS: Nutrition-education cooking interventions targeted at low-socioeconomic-status and marginalized populations produced a range of positive nutrition outcomes. Outcomes were observed when the program involved hands-on cooking and a skilled facilitator coupled with individual self-efficacy, knowledge gain, family support, and an expectation of positive health outcomes. CONCLUSION: These findings highlight key program components to achieve improvements in nutrition and important recommendations for nutrition-education cooking interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2021


  • adults
  • cooking
  • diet
  • nutrition
  • realist synthesis

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