Aims: To assess the cooking habits and skills of adolescents and its relation to Mediterranean
Methods: Adolescents (N = 390) from the seventh, eighth and ninth grades in a school from a
semi-urban region in northern Portugal were asked to fill in a questionnaire. The questionnaire
assessed self-reported cooking habits and skills, for example enjoying and knowing how to
cook and wanting to cook and learn more. Answers were taken on a scale from 0 to 5, 0 being
‘no’ and 5 being ‘very much’. Learning sources, cooking frequency, and confidence in cooking
ten particular foods were also assessed using the following answers: ‘no, never’, ‘yes, with
help from family/friends’, ‘yes, all by myself’. Adherence to Mediterranean diet was evaluated
using the KIDMED index.
Results: Adolescents who said that they cooked, did so usually between one and four times a
month (56.2%). A high proportion of respondents had never cooked vegetables (57%), fish
(51%) and soup (49%). Girls were more likely to have cooked foods listed in the questionnaire
(p ≤ .002). Adolescents who did not know how to cook (8.7%) stated that the main reasons
were that they had someone to cook for them (47%) and had no interest (35%). Those who
knew how to cook mainly stated that they had learnt from their family (87.9%) and by
themselves (7.9%). Most of our sample wanted ‘to learn how to cook better’ (M = 3.8,
SD = 1.5), preferably with family/friends (82%) or by taking culinary courses (10%). The
KIDMED index was poor for 7.2% of the sample, average for 50.8% and good for 42.1%.
Adolescents with higher KIDMED scores were younger (p = .025), knew how to cook better
(p < .001), cooked more often (p < .001), enjoyed cooking (p < .001), would like to cook more
frequently (p < .001), and would like to learn how to cook better (p < .001).
Conclusion: Almost one in every ten adolescents did not know how to cook. Vegetables, fish
and soup were found to be foods that nearly half of the adolescents had never cooked. Female
adolescents were more involved in cooking than males. Better cooking habits and skills were
positively related with adolescents’ adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which reinforces the
idea that teaching cooking skills may have a positive impact in future food choice.
Tipo (Avaliação Docente):
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