Television (TV) cooking shows have evolved from focusing on educating to focusing on entertaining, as well. At present, educational TV cooking shows focus on the transfer of cooking knowledge and skills, whereas edutainment TV cooking shows focus on entertaining their viewers. Both types of shows are ongoing success stories. However, little is known regarding the shows' links with the cooking and eating habits of their audiences. Therefore, the current study investigates the relationship between watching an educational or edutainment TV cooking show and one's cooking and eating habits. Given public health concerns regarding the decline in cooking behaviors and the simultaneous increase in caloric intake from food outside the home, this study suggests a promising intervention.
The results of a cross-sectional survey in Belgium (n = 845) demonstrate that the audiences of educational and edutainment TV cooking shows do not overlap. Although there is little connection between watching specific shows and eating behavior, the connection between watching shows and cooking behaviors varies across gender and age lines. Behaviors also differ depending on whether the viewer is watching an educational or edutainment cooking show. For example, men of all ages appear to cook more often if they watch an educational show. However, only older men (above 38 years) seem to cook more often if they watch an edutainment TV show. The results demonstrate that the relationship between watching TV cooking shows and cooking habits warrants further investigation.