Examining Cooking as a Health Behavior

Overview

The proposed pilot study will examine cooking as an intervention target for weight control in overweight adults. The study will also examine whether interventions designed to promote cooking at home can increase participants' sense of food agency, and overcome common barriers to cooking at home such as time scarcity and budget constrictions. The study will utilize a cooking pedagogy designed to not just teach participants the basics of cooking different foods, but how to be efficient, mindful cooks. If cooking class participation positively impacts diet and health outcomes, it will bolster the case for promoting cooking at home as a health behavior for multiple populations.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: September 30, 2019

Detailed Description

A two arm randomized control trial will examine whether the addition of an active cooking lesson versus a passive observed lesson to a behavioral weight loss intervention results in significantly greater weight loss. Additionally, the study will examine whether interventions designed to promote cooking at home can increase participants' sense of food agency, and overcome common barriers to cooking at home such as time scarcity and budget constrictions.

Overweight and obese but otherwise healthy participants (n=64) will be recruited. Recruitment and study initiation will occur in two waves. Wave 1 aims to recruit 32 individuals who will then be randomized to 1) a 24 week, 24 session group behavioral weight loss intervention with 12 bi-weekly cooking lessons; or, 2) the same 24 week, 24 session group behavioral weight loss intervention with 12 bi-weekly cooking demonstrations. Both groups get the same intervention and the same counselor delivered intervention elements; the presence of active cooking lessons vs. passive observed cooking demonstrations is the only difference between conditions. Assessments will be conducted at 0, 3 and 6 months. Wave 2 (n=32) will follow the same process as Wave 1 approximately two months after Wave 1 is initiated.

Interventions

  • Behavioral: Active Intervention – Cooking
    • Key behavioral strategies to facilitate making sustained changes in dietary habits and activity patterns are introduced, promoted and reinforced throughout the program. In-person sessions facilitated by an interventionist provide the group meetings. The program provides 24 weekly facilitated group sessions over 6 months. In addition to attending weekly classes, participants will track food intake, exercise, and weight. Participants will share online tracking diaries with the group facilitator who will offer individualized feedback on individual progress. Twelve cooking classes will be run every other week after the in-person weight loss meetings.
  • Behavioral: Demonstrations – Cooking
    • The Demonstrations group will receive the exact same behavioral weight loss intervention as the cooking group. The only difference is that this group will attend cooking demonstrations as opposed to actively cooking.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Active Intervention – Cooking
    • Twelve cooking classes will be run every other week after the in-person weight loss meetings. These lessons will be patterned after Dr. Amy Trubek’s cooking pedagogy and will be tailored for individuals specifically interested in weight loss. Classes will begin with a brief lecture on the day’s topic, followed by a laboratory session. Participants work in teams of two in the NFS foods lab to actively practice skills and cook a meal. Subjects will receive recipes and information sheets that cover pantry supplies, grocery lists, knife skills and cooking equipment. Classes will be taught by a chef trained in the pedagogy by Dr. Trubek and participants will have the opportunity to sample the food they prepared at the end of class.
  • Active Comparator: Demonstrations – Cooking
    • The demonstration condition will serve as an “attention only” control. Previous research suggests that demonstrations of cooking have little to no impact on cooking behavior, therefore, cooking demonstrations can be used to “even out” the time and attention devoted to the active cooking participants without introducing bias into the study design. Subjects in the demonstration condition will also begin with a brief lecture on the day’s lesson followed by a cooking demonstration that covers the same topics as the active intervention group. All participants will receive the same printed information and also have an opportunity to sample the prepared food at the end of class. The demonstrations will be led by the same chef as the active intervention group.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Weight change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Weight change from baseline at 24 weeks
  • Diet Quality Change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Diet quality change from baseline to 24 weeks will be measured by the Health Eating Index

Secondary Measures

  • Cooking and Food Practices Change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Cooking and Food Practices Change from baseline to 24 weeks will be measured by The Cooking and Food Provisioning Action Scale (CAFPAS), which measures food preparation skills and capacities. The CAFPAS contains 28 items administered with responses chosen from a 7-point bipolar Likert scale. There are three subscales: Self-Efficacy (measures whether an individual thinks their cooking ability and skills are adequate), Attitude (measures an individual’s affective stance towards food, cooking and provisioning in different areas), and Structure (measures the ways in which external factures can either hinder or support an individual’s cooking and provisioning actions). Subscales are scored by coding responses from 1-7, reversing them as necessary, summing the items and dividing by the standard deviation of the sample population’s scores on the subscale. The overall CAFPAS score is the sum of the three subscales. A higher score on the CAFPAS is associated with improvement.
  • Cooking Perceptions Change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Cooking perceptions change of what constitutes “cooking” will be measured using the Cooking Perceptions/Attitudes/Confidence/Behaviors Survey. Reponses to questions regarding what food preparation activities constitute cooking are measured on a 7-point Likert scale. The minimum score is 0 and the maximum score is 7.
  • Cooking Frequency Change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Cooking frequency change will be assessed from baseline to 24 weeks using the cooking frequency subscale from the Cooking Perceptions/Attitudes/Confidence/Behaviors Survey. The scores range from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 7.
  • Cooking Confidence Change
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Cooking confidence change will be assessed from baseline to 24 weeks using the cooking confidence subscale from the Cooking Perceptions/Attitudes/Confidence/Behaviors Survey. A 7-point Likert scale is used with a minimum score of 0 and maximum score of 7.
  • Treatment Engagement
    • Time Frame: 24 weeks
    • Percent (of 24 possible) classes attended and percent food diaries completed (of 24 possible) will be calculated to determine treatment engagement

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • only individuals who are cooking (from scratch) no more than 3 meals at home per week will be eligible.
  • must have a computer or smart device with internet access (at home or work) in order to track their diet and exercise behaviors,
  • potential participants will be required to demonstrate some ability to comply with study intervention procedures to be eligible (specifically, they must complete an online dietary self-monitoring diary for 3 days)
  • must be at least 18 years old and have a BMI between 25-50 kg/m2
  • must agree to be randomized to either study arm and available for both scheduled meeting times in person on the University of Vermont campus

Exclusion Criteria

  • pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 6 months or lactating
  • physical conditions that would preclude exercise
  • medication affecting weight loss
  • currently enrolled in another weight loss program
  • currently cooking more than 3 meals from scratch at home per week

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Vermont
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Jean R. Harvey, PhD, RD, Chairperson, Professor, Associate Dean – University of Vermont
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Jean R Harvey, PhD, RD, Principal Investigator, University of Vermont

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At TrialBulletin.com, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.