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One Recipe At A Time: Evaluating An Innovative Teaching Kitchen To Create Positive Health Outcomes

  • At: PPR 2022 (2022)
  • Type: Poster
  • By: HARRIS, Mercedes (Five Loaves & Two Fish Healthy Teaching Kitchen)
  • Co-author(s): Mercedes Harris, Supervisor, Five Loaves & Two Fish Healthy Teaching Kitchen, United States
    Philborne Barnum, Culinary Nutrition & Education Director

  • Abstract:

    Background
    Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death and disability globally. NCDs create a long-term impact on a country’s productivity, competitiveness, fiscal strength, healthcare utilization and public health outcomes. As a result, socioeconomic development, individual and household quality of life (QOL) is hindered both in developed and developing countries. Creative, easily adaptable approaches are needed to improve the key viability drivers of a country.

    With life expectancy increasing coupled with increasing rates of childhood obesity due to physical inactivity, environmental factors and family dynamics changing. It is imperative to promote innovative new strategies to tackle the increasing rates of NCDs and associated unfavorable outcomes.

    A teaching kitchen, led by a pharmacist and culinary chef utilizing in-person and virtual/online class sessions for youth and adult age (5+ YOA) populations in tandem with national/federal programs focusing on health education and culinary nutrition is an approach to improve health care costs, utilization, QOL measures through informed health literacy, health outcomes, NCD prevention, management, and treatment.

    Purpose
    Can a teaching kitchen with a program curriculum focused on motivational interviewing, NCDs monitoring/prevention, diet related health and nutrition education improve participant health outcomes?

    The health and culinary education cooking program was developed to empower participants with a multi-sensory approach to modifying risk factors associated with diet related illnesses and chronic diseases. With a target audience focus on minority, underserved communities within Central Florida.

    Method
    The yearlong in-person observational study that started in October 2021 analyzes the participants’ (10 person, 18+ YOA) medication usage, change in weight, biomarkers (i.e. blood pressure, glucose), behavioral habits including food shopping patterns and healthy food consumption. The class curriculum is offered once weekly classes and highlight corresponding monthly health awareness observances, health literacy, chronic disease education/monitoring, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies. Participants have their blood pressure and weight recorded at each class session. Culinary instruction was developed to be hands-on, culturally sensitive, healthy meals that were easily accessible at local food markets with a goal to challenge fast food menu costs.

    Each class session concluded with handouts of the day's topic with meal recipe, credible resource information, weekly follow-ups to help guide participants in between classes and access to exercise fitness and wellness membership subscription. Participants were given evaluation assessment surveys examining health literacy and food habits at pre, mid and post program implementation.

    Results
    Within the first sixth months of study observation; preliminary data results have shown all participants recording favorable change in biomarkers, reduction of A1c levels (i.e. 2 point reduction), medication usage and frequency (TID to BID or QD), goal blood pressure, weight and BMI levels including positive behavioral/shopping patterns and improved healthy food consumption frequency amongst participants with extension to their families.

    Conclusion
    A teaching kitchen headed by a healthcare provider and culinary expert is a feasible approach to improving patient and public health outcomes. Broader aspects of the program include expansion of health education internationally (i.e. Caribbean), collaborating with fellow public health officials and key stakeholders to serve more communities of need.

Last update 4 October 2019

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