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A Canadian University “Understanding Foods” Course Improves Confidence in Food Skills and Food Safety Knowledge

Jessica Bertrand MAN, RD,a Alison Crerar MA,b Janis Randall Simpson PhD, RD, FDCa

aDepartment of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

bCollege of Business and Economics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Published on the web 12 June 2018.


Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 2018, 79(4): 170-175, https://doi.org/10.3148/cjdpr-2018-012

Abstract

The impact of a hands-on foods course on undergraduate students’ food skills was examined at the University of Guelph. For a convenience sample, first- and second-year students (n?=?47, 87% female) registered in the “Understanding Foods” course were recruited to participate in a survey administered on Qualtrics at the beginning of the semester and again at the end of the semester. Participants were asked questions related to demographics and food habits; additional questions on food skills, in Likert-scale format, included confidence in food preparation, food safety knowledge, and grocery shopping habits. Subscales were combined for an overall Food Skills Questions (FSQ) score and differences were determined by paired t tests. Overall, significant (P?<?0.05) improvements were observed related to students’ confidence and food safety knowledge scores as well as the overall FSQ score. Students, however, rated their personal eating habits more poorly (P?<?0.05) at the end of the semester. As a lack of food skills is often considered a barrier for healthy eating among students, these results signify the importance of a hands-on introductory cooking course at the undergraduate level.

Financial support: None.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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