Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

BMC Public Health


BioMed Central Ltd.


School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Science / School of Education




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020

This research received no external funding from any agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. The study was self-supported by ECU, as the Major Partner – Western Australia, by provided funding to The Good Foundation for the provision of a Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia Mobile Kitchen at ECU campuses and other agreed Western Australian locations across a 3-year period. ECU also funded all utility costs associated with the program when held at ECU campuses, and the research study in its entirety. Beyond that, the salary of JRL is supported by and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Career Development Fellowship (ID: 1107474).

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 1107474


Rees, J., Christophersen, C. C., Lewis, J. R., Lo, J., Sambell, R., Costello, L., ... & Devine, A. (2020). The study protocol for a pseudo-randomised pre-post designed controlled intervention trial to study the effects of a 7-week cooking program on self-efficacy and biomarkers of health: the ECU lifestyle and biomarkers get connected study (ECULABJMOF) including the Jamie’s Ministry of Food WA participant experience. BMC public health, 20(1), Article 1037.


Background: Australia, like other nations, has experienced a shift in dietary patterns away from home cooking of nutritious foods, towards a reliance on pre-prepared convenience meals. These are typically energy-dense, nutrient-poor and contribute to the rising prevalence of obesity and chronic disease burden. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether a community-based cooking program instigated a change to participants’ skills, attitudes, knowledge, enjoyment and satisfaction of cooking and cooking confidence (self-efficacy). Methods: The pseudo-random, pre-post study design consisted of an intervention and a control group. Participant recruitment and group allocation was based on their program start dates. Intervention participants were surveyed three times (baseline, 7 weeks and 6 months) and the control group were surveyed at baseline and 5 weeks. All participants were registered via an online website and were 18 years or over. Upon consent, participants were offered four levels of commitment, defined by different assessments. The minimum participation level included an online survey and levels 2, 3 and 4 involved attendance at a clinic with increasing functional, anthropometric and biomarker measurements. Primary endpoints were participants’ cooking confidence as a proxy for self-efficacy. Secondary endpoints were dietary intake, physical activity levels, body composition, anthropometry, blood, urine and faecal biomarkers of systemic, physical and mental health. Discussion: The community cooking program provided participants with information and advice on food sourcing, preparation and nutrition to improve home cooking skills. The study was designed to explore whether food literacy programs are efficacious in improving participant physical health and well-being in order to combat the rise in obesity and diet-related disease. It will support future use of public health cooking program initiatives aimed at improving food literacy, self-efficacy and physical and mental health. The extensive data collected will inform future research into the relationship between diet, the gut-microbiota and human health.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.