This pilot study investigated the impact of a parent-child dyad cooking intervention on reducing eating dinner away from home. Eating away from home often results in consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods that can contribute to excess energy consumption in children.
A pre-post design to evaluate a 10-week cooking intervention on reducing eating dinner away from home, energy intake, and improving diet quality was implemented. The intervention was delivered at an instructional kitchen on a university campus and assessments were completed at a children's academic medical center. Subjects included six parent-child dyads whom reported eating dinner away from home ≥3 times/week and in which the parent was overweight based on their body mass index (BMI) of ≥25 kg/m2. Parents were a mean age of 34.7 (SD = 3.9) years, and children were a mean age of 8.7 (SD = 2.0) years. Two-thirds of parents self-identified themselves and their children as White. Results showed the proportion of dinners consumed by parent-child dyads away from home significantly decreased (F (1,161) = 16.1, p < 0.05) from 56% at baseline to 25% at post-treatment. Dyad cholesterol intake at dinner also significantly decreased over time; however, changes in energy intake, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium at dinner were not significant. A large effect size was found for changes in parent ratings of enjoyment of cooking between baseline and post-treatment. A cooking intervention that involves parent-child dyads and incorporates behavior management strategies and nutrition education may be an innovative obesity prevention intervention.