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Feasibility of Implementing a Food Skills Intervention

Published:February 26, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2022.02.015

      Abstract

      Background

      Food skills are defined as meal planning, preparation, shopping, budgeting, resourcefulness, and label reading/consumer awareness. To date, food skills have not been tested in intervention-based studies.

      Objective

      To evaluate the feasibility of implementing a food skills intervention.

      Design

      This was an 8-week prospective food skills intervention. Study measures were completed through questionnaires provided before the start of the intervention and after the intervention was completed. For questionnaires, the web platform REDCap was used.

      Participants and setting

      Thirty parents (aged 18 years or older) with at least one child (aged 2 to 12 years), attended weekly virtual intervention sessions via Zoom. The intervention took place from August to October 2020 with assessment measures collected within 2 months of the start and end date of the intervention. Participants were from the mid-Atlantic region of the United States

      Intervention

      A food skills intervention based on behavior modification strategies from the Social Cognitive Theory was implemented. Intervention goals included meal planning (six of seven dinner meals per week), meal plan implementation (at least four of six planned dinner meals), and always using a grocery list when shopping.

      Main outcome measures

      Feasibility was evaluated based on parent attendance, number of self-monitoring booklets completed, adherence to goals, implementation fidelity, and qualitative responses to interviews. Change in food skills confidence and nutrition knowledge were also assessed.

      Statistical analysis

      Descriptive statistics and qualitative responses were used to describe feasibility. Paired t tests were used to evaluate change in food skills confidence and nutrition knowledge from baseline to 8 weeks.

      Results

      Parents attended a mean of 7.6 ± 1.0 (out of eight) sessions and completed a mean of 6.2 ± 1.7 (out of seven) self-monitoring booklets. Parents planned a mean of 6.1 ± 1.5 dinners per week and implemented a mean of 4.7 ± 1.6 of the six planned dinners, achieving the intervention goals. Of the mean 1.2 ± 0.6 trips/week to the grocery store reported, grocery lists were used a mean of 1.1 ± 0.6 times. Mean food skills confidence score increased significantly from baseline to 8 weeks (baseline = 86.5 ± 18.0; 8 weeks = 101.4 ± 15.3; P < 0.001). Mean nutrition knowledge score also significantly increased (baseline = 64.1 ± 7.2; 8 weeks = 69.1 ± 6.6; P < 0.001). Parents reported on a scale of zero (“easy”) to 10 (“difficult”) a mean difficulty rating of 2.4 ± 2.4 for meal planning, a mean of 2.1 ± 2.1 for meal plan implementation, and a mean of 1.0 ± 1.7 for always using a grocery shopping list indicating acceptability of goals.

      Conclusions

      Feasibility of a food skills intervention was demonstrated by high session attendance, high numbers of self-monitoring booklets turned in, high achievement of intervention goals, parent acceptability, and high ratings of implementation fidelity. There was an increase in food skill confidence and nutrition knowledge. Future research should examine the efficacy of changing food skill behaviors on dietary intake.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      A. K. Fultz is a postdoctoral fellow, Center for Health Behavior Research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

      Biography

      S. Baker is an assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark.

      Biography

      J. Trabulsi is an associate professor and chair, Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark.

      Biography

      A. V. Alvarado is a graduate student, Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark.

      Biography

      S. M. Robson is an associate professor, Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark.

      Biography

      E. Anderson Steeves is an assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville