The Initial findings of the Healthy Lifestyles Project:
A practical design and technology cooking and nutrition programme for primary schools
Keywords:obesity, cooking, nutrition, healthy lifestyle
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in developed countries, with those who live in lower socio-economic groups twice as likely to be obese (Davies, 2019). This paper will report the findings and analysis of the first 4 years of a six-year longitudinal study into the impact of the Healthy Lifestyles Project (HLSP), which is currently being piloted as part of the D&T curriculum in a school in an area of high deprivation. The HLSP aims to develop children's practical cooking and nutrition skills, knowledge and understanding, enabling them to choose, prepare and cook healthy ingredients to feed themselves and their families, helping to change their attitudes and perceptions towards choosing a healthier lifestyle. By drawing on the experience of head chef at the Adopt a School Trust, the HLSP has been designed to provide a programme for staff, children and parents which aims to make a positive contribution to tackling children’s health in the UK and beyond.
There are four key features of the HLSP:
- regular termly cooking and nutrition lessons
- termly support for parents
- opportunities for children to plant, grow and eat their own fruit and vegetables in the school grounds
- teaching resources for before, during and after the practical food sessions
Theory and research suggest that when looking at changing behaviour, interventions that have several aims and approaches are more successful. Therefore, when designing the HLSP, a multi-pronged approach was required to address attitudes and behaviours by tackling some of the physiological, environmental and social issues behind childhood obesity. One theoretical framework that the HLSP aligns to closely is Social-Ecological Model (SEM), based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model. Preliminary evaluations on the impact the project have been made across the five aspects of the SEM theoretical framework: individual, inter-personal, organisational, community and policies, laws & other cultures.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Suzanne Gomersall
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