Impact of the Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ cooking program on individuals from underserved communities in Austin

Rachel Pauley, The University of Texas School of Public Health


INTRODUCTION: The modern American diet largely consists of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. Poor diet is a risk factor for many diseases, and the prevalence of poor diet is elevated in low-income and minority populations. Sustainable Food Center (SFC) strives to promote nutrition in these populations by employing peer-to-peer nutrition education, skill building, and locally-grown food in its cooking and nutrition program, The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ (THK). The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of the program's efforts through a secondary data analysis of a 2012 study that measured participants' maintenance of dietary change. METHODS: All THK participants from June 1, 2011-May 31, 2012, were eligible to participate, given they provided their contact information. The study team completed 93 of 211 (43%) possible interviews consisting of food frequency questions that asked participants about both their eating habits before beginning THK and in the week prior to the interview. Fisher's Exact Tests (Chi-square) were used to assess if there were any significant changes in selected answers. Spearman's rho correlations were used to test for associations of food consumption pre- and post-program and also for associations between farmers' market use and fruit and vegetable consumption. A weighted kappa statistic measured participant agreement outside of chance for the two waves for each variable. RESULTS: At the time of the follow-up interview, participants reported significant dietary changes for consumption of 8 of the 15 dietary intake variables, including intake of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and saturated fat, as well as self-efficacy to select and prepare nutritious meals. Maintenance of dietary change was not determined to be related to length of time out of the program. Most variables exhibited either fair or moderate agreement (0.21

Subject Area

Nutrition|Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Pauley, Rachel, "Impact of the Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ cooking program on individuals from underserved communities in Austin" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1541013.