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Community-based cooking programme ‘Eat Better Feel Better’ can improve child and family eating behaviours in low socioeconomic groups
  1. Ada Lizbeth Garcia1,
  2. Nurie Athifa1,
  3. Elizabeth Hammond2,
  4. Alison Parrett1,
  5. Anne Gebbie-Diben2
  1. 1 Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Public Health Directorate, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ada Lizbeth Garcia, Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK; Ada.Garcia{at}


Background The immediate and sustained impacts of the Eat Better Feel Better cooking programme (EBFBCP) on food choices and eating behaviours in families and children were evaluated.

Methods The EBFBCP (6 weeks, 2 hours/week) was delivered by community-based organisations in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland. Before, after and at follow-up, parents/caregivers completed short pictorial questionnaires to report family/child eating behaviours and food literacy.

Results In total, 83 EBFBCPs were delivered and 516 participants enrolled, of which 432 were parents and caregivers. Questionnaire completion rates were 57% (n=250) for before and after and 13% (n=58) for follow-up. Most participants (80%) were female, 25–44 years old (51%) and considered socioeconomically deprived (80%). The immediate effects of the EBFBCP on eating behaviours and food literacy were families ate less takeaway/fast foods (10% reduction, p=0.019) and ready meals (15% reduction, p=0.003) and cooked more from scratch (20% increase, p<0.001). Children’s consumption of discretionary food/drinks was significantly reduced after the EBFBCP for sugary drinks (10% reduction, p=0.012), savoury snacks (18%, p=0.012), biscuits (17%, p=0.007), sweets/chocolates (23%, p=0.002), fried/roasted potatoes (17%, p<0.001) and savoury pastries (11%, p<0.001). The number of fruit (15%, p=0.008) and vegetable portions (10%, p<0.001) increased, while the number of biscuit portions decreased (13%, p=0.005). Parental food label reading increased (calories, 22%; fat, 23%; sugar, 22%; ingredients, 19%; and portion size, 19%). Most changes were sustained at a median of 10 months’ follow-up.

Conclusion The EBFBCP improved children’s and families’ food choices and behaviours. The EBFBCP can be recommended to support families to make better food choices.

  • diet
  • health behaviour
  • public health
  • nutrition
  • child health

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  • Contributors ALG: study design, data entry and quality control, analysis, interpretation of results, writing and editing, and supervision. NA: data entry and cleaning, telephone interviews and data analysis. EH: management of programme and coordination of evaluation, writing and editing. AP: writing and editing. AG-D: study design, writing and editing, programme supervision and management.

  • Funding The cooking programme was supported by National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde Public Health. NA was funded by the Indonesian Government.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The before-and-after component was a service improvement evaluation and did not require ethics approval, while the follow-up study was conducted after the intervention and ethical approval was obtained from the Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Ethics Committee at Glasgow University (200140157). All procedures involving human subjects were conducted in accordance with the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki. Consent for participants to be contacted again was sought at the beginning of the service evaluation, and only those who agreed and provided a telephone number were contacted by telephone for a follow-up interview

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All raw data underpinning this research is available at University's of Glasgow's data repository: