Public Health Nutrition

Nutrition and health

Involvement in home meal preparation is associated with food preference and self-efficacy among Canadian children

Yen Li Chua1 c1, Anna Farmera2, Christina Funga1, Stefan Kuhlea1, Kate E Storeya1 and Paul J Veugelersa1

a1 Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 6-50 University Terrace, 8303 112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2T4

a2 Centre for Health Promotion Studies and Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Objective To examine the association between frequency of assisting with home meal preparation and fruit and vegetable preference and self-efficacy for making healthier food choices among grade 5 children in Alberta, Canada.

Design A cross-sectional survey design was used. Children were asked how often they helped prepare food at home and rated their preference for twelve fruits and vegetables on a 3-point Likert-type scale. Self-efficacy was measured with six items on a 4-point Likert-type scale asking children their level of confidence in selecting and eating healthy foods at home and at school.

Setting Schools (n 151) located in Alberta, Canada.

Subjects Grade 5 students (n 3398).

Results A large majority (83–93 %) of the study children reported helping in home meal preparation at least once monthly. Higher frequency of helping prepare and cook food at home was associated with higher fruit and vegetable preference and with higher self-efficacy for selecting and eating healthy foods.

Conclusions Encouraging children to be more involved in home meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy. These findings suggest that the incorporation of activities teaching children how to prepare simple and healthy meals in health promotion programmes could potentially lead to improvement in dietary habits.

(Received September 28 2011)

(Revised March 08 2012)

(Accepted March 15 2012)

(Online publication May 11 2012)


  • Elementary-school children;
  • Meal preparation;
  • Diet quality;
  • Food preference;
  • Self-efficacy


c1 Corresponding author: Email