WA health practitioners and cooking: How well do they mix?
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Aim: The aim of the present study was to assess the views and experiences of WA practitioners on the use of cooking as a public health nutrition intervention. Methods: A 39-point online questionnaire was constructed using Survey Monkey. The questionnaire was distributed via email distribution lists targeting practitioners working in public health nutrition. Questions were focused around four objectives relating to: the value of cooking skills in public health, practitioner cooking skills and training, practitioner views on cooking as a health intervention and practitioner experiences in conducting cooking demonstrations. Results: A total of 84 practitioners completed the questionnaire, of which over half (58%) were employed in dietetic specific positions at the time of the survey. There was overwhelming agreement that cooking skills are an important factor in the prevention of nutrition-related disease, and that cooking skill interventions have the potential to change dietary intakes. However, only one quarter of practitioners indicated that cooking skill interventions were a significant part of their current role. Over half (58%) of the practitioners surveyed had either conducted or assisted in a cooking demonstration or cooking class in the last 12 months. Conclusions: WA practitioners place a high value on the use of cooking as a public health nutrition intervention. Practitioners felt they have good knowledge and skills in cooking but indicated the need to know more about conducting cooking skill interventions. The findings suggest the need to improve outcome evaluation as a component of cooking skill interventions to assess long-term behaviour change.