Who is teaching the kids to cook? Results from a nationally representative survey of secondary school students in New Zealand

Utter, Jennifer; Denny, Simon; Lucassen, Mathijs and Dyson, Ben (2018). Who is teaching the kids to cook? Results from a nationally representative survey of secondary school students in New Zealand. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 30(3), article no. 20160064.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2016-0064

Abstract

Learning how to cook is an important skill for developing healthy eating behaviors. Moreover, involvement in home cooking may offer young people opportunities for skill building, identity development and social engagement with their families. Recently, there have been concerns that the current generation of young people may not have the opportunities to develop sufficient cooking skills. These concerns have been addressed by the initiation of numerous, localized interventions. Yet, little is known about where the current generation of young people learn cooking skills. The objective of this study was to describe where the current generation of young people report learning to cook, drawing on nationally representative data from New Zealand. Data were collected as part of Youth2012, a nationally representative survey of secondary school students (n = 8500) in New Zealand. Almost all students reported learning to cook and from multiple sources. Almost all students reported learning to cook from a family member (mother, father, or other family member), approximately 60% of students reported that they learned to cook from certain media (cookbooks, TV, or the Internet) and half of all students reported learning to cook at school. There were numerous differences in where students learned to cook by socio-demographic characteristics. Findings from the current research highlight the important role that families play in teaching young people to cook and will be useful for those working with young people to develop these skills.

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