Social health and nutrition impacts of community kitchens: a systematic review

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OBJECTIVE: Community kitchens have been implemented by communities as a public health strategy to prevent food insecurity through reducing social isolation, improving food and cooking skills and empowering participants. The aim of the present paper was to investigate whether community kitchens can improve the social and nutritional health of participants and their families. DESIGN: A systematic review of the literature was conducted including searches of seven databases with no date limitations. SETTING: Community kitchens internationally. SUBJECTS: Participants of community kitchens across the world. RESULTS: Ten studies (eight qualitative studies, one mixed-method study and one cross-sectional study) were selected for inclusion. Evidence synthesis suggested that community kitchens may be an effective strategy to improve participants cooking skills, social interactions and nutritional intake. Community kitchens may also play a role in improving participants budgeting skills and address some concerns around food insecurity. Long-term solutions are required to address income-related food insecurity. CONCLUSIONS: Community kitchens may improve social interactions and nutritional intake of participants and their families. More rigorous research methods, for both qualitative and quantitative studies, are required to effectively assess the impact of community kitchens on social and nutritional health in order to confidently recommend them as a strategy in evidence-based public health practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535 - 543
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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