A critical look at the relationship between education-based interventions and healthier lifestyles among young people

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


Purpose: There is good evidence that different types of education-based cooking interventions have given participants a greater understanding of the importance of eating nutritiously, while also improving their cooking skills and motivation to cook for themselves. However, it is more difficult to find research results that can document changes in the intended subsequent food and meal practices with a view to living healthier. The aim of this article is to present a contributory reason why education-based cooking interventions do not – or only to a limited extent – appear to have the intended long-term health-related outcomes for the participants.
Design/methodology/method: The study is based on a practice theoretical ontology with an associated methodology, study design, analysis and interpretation. The dataset consisted of 25 hours of webcam-based recording of young student housing residents’ food and meal practices combined with 16 semi-structured individual interviews.
Results: Based on the study, this article suggests that a contributing reason for the absence of the intended changes is that the knowledge and skills obtained from the intervention are not subsequently put into practice in a social context, specifically in the form of cooking with and for other people.
Practical implications: The findings point to the importance of – as a complement to the education-based interventions – also implementing activities that support the subsequent physical and social environment for joint cooking activities in connection with opportunities for mealtime communities. In addition to the health-related aim that is the context for this article, the article’s point could also find application in the context of other aims, such as initiatives aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and food waste that also rely on changing cooking practices.
Originality/research relevance: This study supplements existing research literature on the effects of cooking-based interventions by highlighting the importance of the subsequent social context if the obtained skills are to be realised in practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research
Number of pages15
Publication statusIn preparation - 3 May 2022

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