Wider impacts of a 10-week community cooking skills program - Jamie's Ministry of Food, Australia

Jessica Herbert, Anna Flego, Lisa Gibbs, Elizabeth Waters, Boyd Swinburn, John Reynolds, Marj Moodie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Jamie's Ministry of Food (JMoF) Australia is a 10-week community-based cooking skills program which is primarily aimed at increasing cooking skills and confidence and the promotion of eating a more nutritious diet. However, it is likely that the program influences many pathways to behaviour change. This paper explores whether JMoF impacted on known precursors to healthy cooking and eating (such as attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, cooking enjoyment and satisfaction and food purchasing behaviour) and whether there are additional social and health benefits which arise from program participation. Methods: A mixed method, quasi-experimental longitudinal evaluation with a wait-list control was conducted. Intervention participants were measured using repeated questionnaires at three time points; before and after the program and at six-month follow-up. Control participants completed the questionnaire 10 weeks before their program and at program commencement. Quantitative analysis used a linear mixed model approach and generalised linear models for repeated measures using all available data. Qualitative methods involved 30-minute repeated semi-structured interviews with a purposively selected sample, analysed thematically. Results: Statistically significant differences between groups and over time were found for a reduction of take away/fast food weekly purchasing (P = 0.004), and increases in eating meals at the dinner table (P = 0.01), cooking satisfaction (P = 0.01), and the ability to prepare a meal in 30 minutes (P < 0.001) and from basics that was low in cost (P < 0.001). The qualitative findings supported the quantitative results. Repeat qualitative interviews with fifteen participants indicated increased confidence and skills gained from the program to prepare meals from scratch as well as increases in family involvement in cooking and meal times at home. Conclusions: Jamie's Ministry of Food, Australia resulted in improvements in participants' food and cooking attitudes and knowledge, food purchasing behaviours and social interactions within the home environment, which were sustained six months after the program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1161
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooking skills
  • Evaluation
  • Health promotion
  • Healthy eating
  • Nutrition education

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