Impact of a school-based cooking programme on home cooking participation in Japan

Emi Yoshii, Ochanomizu University
Rie Akamatsu, Ochanomizu University
Yoko Ishihara, Kanto Gakuin University
Betty Izumi, Portland State University



Children’s participation in cooking activities at home may have positive effects on diet quality. In Japan, schools are the primary site for food education, which includes cooking. Very few studies have assessed the impact of school-based cooking programmes on children’s participation in cooking activities at home.


The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the cooking programme on children’s participation in cooking at home and their self-efficacy and attitudes towards cooking.


Quasi-experimental study with an intervention and a comparison group. Outcomes were measured using pre- and post-programme surveys.


Two public elementary schools (A, B) in Tokyo, Japan.


One hundred-seventy children in the third and fourth grades at School A (intervention group) and 142 children at School B (comparison group) completed pre- and post-programme surveys. Students in the intervention school received three 45-minute cooking lessons, including two lessons that focused on peeling apples and one hands-on cooking experience. The main outcome measures were participation in cooking at home, attitudes towards cooking, and self-efficacy with respect to cooking and peeling apples.


The number of children participating in cooking-at-home activities increased in the intervention group (p = .005). Children who started cooking at home during the intervention period improved their cooking self-efficacy (p = .012) and attitudes towards cooking (p = .002).


Implementation of a short-duration cooking programme focused on improving children’s cooking attitudes, and self-efficacy can encourage participation in cooking activities at home.