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AJLXXX10.1177/1559827617709757American Journal of Lifestyle MedicineAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

David M. Eisenberg, MD, Allison C. Righter, MSPH, RDN,

Benjamin Matthews, BS, Weimin Zhang, PhD,
Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH, and Jennifer Massa, ScD

Feasibility Pilot Study of a

Teaching Kitchen and Self-Care
Curriculum in a Workplace Setting
Abstract: Objective. To examine biomarkers persisted over the 12-month and TK-related curricula that include
the feasibility of a prototype Teaching follow-up (n = 32), only changes in nutrition education, culinary instruction,
Kitchen (TK) self-care intervention that waist circumference and diastolic enhanced movement and exercise,
offers the combination of culinary, blood pressure remained statistically mindfulness training, and health
nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness different at 12 months. Conclusions. coaching. Importantly, TKs and their
instruction with health coaching; These study findings suggest that a related strategies and curricula are
and to describe research methods TK curriculum is feasible within a currently being designed as learning
whereby the impact of TK models can workplace setting and that its impact laboratories across multiple
be scientifically assessed. Design. on relevant behavioral and clinical organizations, including universities (eg,
Feasibility pilot study. Subjects were outcomes can be scientifically assessed. Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford,
recruited, screened, and consented University of California, Los Angeles,
to participate in 14- or 16-week Keywords: nutrition education; University of California, San Diego,
programs. Feasibility was assessed culinary instruction; health coaching; University of Minnesota, University of
through ease of recruitment and mindfulness; exercise; optimizing Texas Medical Branch, University of
attendance. One-sample t tests and behavioral change Vermont, Vanderbilt, and others),
generalized estimating equation
models were used to compare
differences in groups. Setting. Diets may be insufficient to bend
Workplace. Subjects. Two cohorts
of 20 employees and their partners. the global trajectory with regard to
Results. All 40 participants completed
the program with high attendance chronic diseases associated with
(89%) and response rates on repeated
assessments. Multiple changes were suboptimal lifestyle choices.
observed in biomarkers and self-
reported behaviors from baseline to

postprogram including significant n the setting of dramatic increases in corporate worksites (eg, Google,
(P < .05) decreases from baseline to rates of obesity, diabetes, and other Compass), organizations in Italy and
postprogram in body weight (2.8 kg), lifestyle-related chronic conditions, Japan, and community settings (eg,
waist circumference (2.2 in.), systolic innovative strategies whereby individuals Sampson Family YMCA in Pittsburgh and
and diastolic blood pressure (7.7 learn skills to improve the ways they eat, L.A. Kitchen). This pilot study was an
and 6.3 mm Hg, respectively), and move, and think are in high demand. initial attempt to describe, implement,
total cholesterol (7.5 mg/dL). While One such strategy involves the and test the feasibility of a TK curriculum
changes in all of the aforementioned development of Teaching Kitchens (TKs) in a worksite setting.

DOI: 10.1177/1559827617709757. Manuscript received February 24, 2017; revised April 20, 2017; accepted April 24, 2017. From the Department of Nutrition, Harvard
T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts (DME, WCW, JM); Culinary Science Department, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York (ACR);
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (BM, JM); Samueli Institute, Alexandria, Virginia (WZ). Address correspondence to: David M. Eisenberg, MD, Department of
Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Building 2, Room 337, Boston, MA 02115; e-mail: deisenbe@hsph.harvard.edu.
For reprints and permissions queries, please visit SAGEs Web site at http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav.
Copyright 2017 The Author(s)

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Mon Mon XXXX

With obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart interdisciplinary prototype TK curriculum, management system and were
disease on the rise in the United States which includes nutrition education, hands encouraged to try the various cooking
and globally,1-6 there is continued interest on cooking instruction, encouragement to techniques and other life skills at home
in educational programs that can enhance movement and regular exercise, throughout the week. There were no
predictably alter the health care trajectories mindfulness training, and personalized dietary prescriptions, and the intake
of those who have already developed health coaching, is (a) feasible for a during the study was ad libitum. However,
chronic health challenges or are at worksite population and (b) has the the educational components, for example,
elevated risk for developing them.3 Most potential to favorably affect relevant didactic instruction with regard to why
diet programs show evidence of helping behaviors, biomarkers, and health certain foods should be encouraged and
people reduce their cardiovascular risk outcomes. The second objective is to others discouraged and the scientific
through weight loss; however, the effects describe research methods whereby the rationale for these recommendations,
of various diet programs are typically short impact of TK models can be scientifically were conveyed in the hope of altering
lived, and the magnitude of benefit is assessed with regard to changes in (a) subjects dietary choices and behaviors
typically small.4,5,7 In light of these behavior, (b) relevant clinical outcomes, over time. With complementary access to
observations, diets may be insufficient to and (c) costs. a local gym facility and a personal
bend the global trajectory with regard to activity-tracking device provided by the
chronic diseases associated with Methods study, individuals were encouraged to
suboptimal lifestyle choices. increase their physical activity throughout
Innovative approaches to weight Program Design and Facilities the program. Participants were also
management, cardiovascular risk Research staff worked with subject matched with a paid certified health
reduction, and improved health outcomes matter experts in the fields of nutrition, coach (through Wellcoaches) who
are emerging in the literature, and culinary arts, exercise, health coaching, provided regular 30-minute phone calls
include cooking programs,8-11 and mindfulness to develop a TK self- up to once a week throughout the
mindfulness training,12,13 exercise14-16 and care curriculum that combines didactic duration of the 14- to 16-week program in
digital activity monitoring technology,17-19 instruction with experiential learning in order to help participants leverage their
and individualized health coaching.20,21 each of the above-mentioned areas. The personal motivation to change relevant
Existing studies are still modest in size program included one 2.5-hour evening behaviors. The research team created a
and have included only one or a subset meeting per week and one 5-hour general overview of the curriculum but
of all of the above-mentioned self-care Saturday meeting every other weekend made minor changes to the weekly
strategies. The TK self-care curriculum over the course of the 16 weeks (80 classes based on weekly feedback from
evaluated in this study is based on the hours for the first cohort; scaled back to participants.
Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives medical 70 hours over 14 weeks for the second During the biweekly Saturday classes,
education conference offered annually at cohort due to scheduling constraints of study subjects participated in hands-on
the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) the CIA). The classes for this feasibility culinary lessons in a CIA TK, working in
since 2006.22 In 2013, Eisenberg etal study took place at the CIAs campus in assigned teams of 5 to create the recipes
studied changes in self-reported nutrition- Hyde Park, New York, for its access to demonstrated by chef instructors in the
related behaviors among health care auditorium-style demonstration kitchens weekday classes of the previous 2
professionals attending this conference for the weekday didactic class and weeks. They shared a mindful lunch
and found statistically significant hands-on TKs for the weekend (practiced techniques to savor and
improvements between baseline and 3 participatory cooking classes. appreciate eating) of the foods they
months after the conference in self- During the weekday classes, which were prepared, and listened to a registered
reported behaviors such as frequency of facilitated by a research member (either dietitian share tips for enjoying
cooking their own meals; frequency of an MD, RD, or MPH), participants nutritionally balanced and properly
vegetable, nut, and whole grain watched a chef educator demonstrate portioned meals. They then participated
consumption; ability to assess a patients cooking techniques necessary to prepare in a group discussion about their
nutrition status; and ability to advise simple, healthy meals at home (eg, whole experiences, challenges, and successes
overweight or obese patients regarding grain cookery, stock and soup basics, with each element of the program.
nutritional or lifestyle habits.23 The salad composition, and salad dressing The program ended with a banquet
present study customized this educational techniques). Participants then listened to a event in which teams were tasked with
content for use by a general population lecture by a subject matter expert and/or the preparation of a menu of unique
to determine its potential for changing participated in discussions about one of dishes (inspired by the basic techniques
behaviors known to affect health risks. the other educational topics, including taught in class) to be shared with their
In this article, we have 2 objectives. The nutrition, movement, and mindfulness. families and judged by the instructional
first objective is to report on a feasibility Individuals had access to all course team. Participants also had the option of
study to test the hypothesis that an materials through a secured online course reading aloud excerpts from personal

vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

statements they were asked to write to protocol. Participants also had regular in assessing the desired outcomes for
express what they had learned from the opportunities to provide feedback, inclusion in future studies.
program and what they were committed including the completion of a short Qualitative feedback data from baseline
to continuing. evaluation form after each weekday questions involving motivations and
class along with a midpoint satisfaction aspirations, the midpoint surveys, weekly
Participants and Recruitment survey. feedback surveys, and personal
Two cohorts of CIA employees, from Biometric and self-reported behavioral statements were also collected. During
whom chefs were excluded, were invited outcomes were assessed 4 times: at this pilot phase, we informally used
to participate in this pilot program, which baseline, after the 14- or 16-week these data to help refine classes;
was approved by Harvard T.H. Chan educational intervention, 6 months, and however, we did not include formal
School of Public Healths Institutional 12 months. Participants had biometric methods for qualitative assessment.
Review Board. Recruitment occurred at 2 screenings at each interval through a Receipts for food purchases from stores
intervals, once in October 2013 for local HealthQuest facility to measure and restaurants over a 1-week period at
enrollment of the first cohort, and once in height, weight, waist circumference, baseline, midpoint, and postprogram
February 2014 for enrollment of the blood pressure, as well as fasting periods were collected and manually
second cohort. Each cohort was capped glucose, total cholesterol, high-density entered into a database. We created
at 20 participants due to kitchen lipoprotein (HDL), low-density categories of food purchases into
constraints at the CIA. lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. healthier versus less healthy items by
An email was sent to the CIAs Participants also completed, at the same modifying food lists created by French
employee population with a description 4 intervals, a packet of 6 validated etal30 in a similar receipt collection
of the study and expectations for instruments to assess behavioral changes investigation. We adapted these food
participation. Interested employees in each of the domains addressed in the categories with the most up to date
emailed the study coordinator to set up curriculum, including cooking frequency dietary data used to create the
an appointment to be screened, and and confidence,24 dietary intake,25 Alternative Healthy Eating Index31 to
interested spouses or partners of exercise frequency and intensity,26 create our own food categories (see the
employees were also invited to mindful eating practices27 and other appendix for food category lists created
participate and be screened. To be measures of stress,28 and perceived for this pilot study).
eligible for enrollment, potential study well-being.29
participants had to be between the ages Because few published studies have Results
of 18 and 70 years, be employees, and examined changes in food purchasing
commit to attending all of the study- from this type of nutrition education Feasibility Assessments
related activities. We gave priority to intervention, we attempted to assess the CIA employees (excluding culinary
those with self-reported metabolic risk feasibility of receipt collection for staff; n = 482) were sent 2 emails per
factors and excluded anyone with a tracking potential changes in food cohort for recruitment into the study.
diagnosis of cancer, unstable angina or purchases over time. Participants were Within 14 days of this notice,
other significant cardiovascular condition, instructed to collect all food-related approximately 13% (n = 63) of eligible
psychiatric condition requiring receipts for a 1-week interval at baseline, employees expressed interest in
psychopharmacologic medications; prior midpoint, and postprogram. participating, and 15 indicated interest in
or planned bariatric surgery; pregnant or having their spouse or partner be
planning to become pregnant over the Data Analysis considered for enrollment in the study.
next year; or self-reported average Biometric and behavioral data were Sixty-five people were screened, and
consumption of >14 alcoholic drinks per combined for both cohorts and analyzed ultimately, 40 people, or 8.3% of all
week. The expectations of participants using SAS version 9 (SAS Institute, Inc, eligible and 52.4% of employees
were that they attend all classes, practice Cary, NC). For continuous outcome expressing interest (33 employees, 7
cooking at home, use their gym measures, 1-sample paired Students t nonemployee spouses), were enrolled.
membership, and participate in health tests were used to test for statistically The 40 study participants ranged in age
coaching sessions. There were no direct significant differences between baseline from 23 to 67 years (mean = 47.5), were
incentives beyond the free resources and and postprogram, 6 months, and 12 predominately female (70%), overweight
food provided as part of the program. months. For categorical outcome or obese (93%), and represented a wide
measures, the differences between range of work departments (including
Instruments and baseline and postprogram, 6 months, facilities/housekeeping, financial aid,
Outcome Measures and 12 months were tested through residence life, human resources,
Feasibility was assessed through generalized estimating equations models admissions, career services, and others)
recruitment and attendance records and for repeated measures. Questionnaires and individual cooking abilities and self-
adherence to the data collection were also evaluated for their usefulness care aspirations. At baseline, most

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Mon Mon XXXX

Biometric data at 6 months (n = 37)

Table 1. suggested a persistence of significant (P
Baseline Characteristics of Study Participants. < .05) changes from baseline for weight
(4.2 kg [SD 6.5]), systolic blood pressure
Cohort 1 Cohort 2 (10.08 mm Hg [SD 119.07]), diastolic
blood pressure (8.24 mm Hg [SD
N 20 20 11.72]), and waist circumference (3.24
Mean age (range) 47 (23-67) 48 (31-66) in. [SD 3.09]); but were no longer
statistically significant for changes in total
% Female 75% 65% cholesterol (5.22 mg/dL [SD 20.45]; P =
Number of singles 14 10 .13). Changes in triglycerides (P = .22),
HDL (P = .78), LDL (P = .40), and blood
Number of couples 3 5 glucose (P = .73) remained
Children at home 40% 25%
At 12 months (n = 32), only changes
Obese (BMI > 30) 11 (55%) 14 (70%) from baseline in diastolic blood pressure
(4.25 [SD 9.37]) and waist circumference
Overweight or obese (BMI > 25) 18 (90%) 19 (95%) (3.21 in. [SD 3.22]) remained statistically
Elevated waist circumference (>35 in. women, 15 (75%) 14 (70%) significant (P < .05). Changes continued
>40 in. men) to trend downward as compared with
baseline, but were no longer statistically
High blood pressure (130/85 mg/dL) 12 (60%) 5 (25%) significant for decreases in weight (1.3
High total cholesterol (200 mg/dL) 7a (37%) 7 (35%) kg [SD 6.33]; P = .26), and systolic blood
pressure (4.63 mm Hg [SD 17.21]; P =
High triglycerides (150 mg/dL) 7 (37%) 5 (25%) 0.14) at 12 months; and changes in other
biometric measures remained
High fasting blood sugar (100 mg/dL) 4a (21%) 5 (25%)
Metabolic syndromeb 8a (42%) 3 (15%)
Behavioral Change
No known metabolic risk factors 4 (20%) 5 (25%) Assessments

Abbreviations: BMI, body mass index; HDL, high-density lipoprotein.

Overall, we observed self-reported
N = 19, as the local laboratory was unable to process the baseline blood work of one study changes in a range of behaviors toward
subject. more desirable health habits taught in
Metabolic syndrome Is clinically classified as having at least 3 of the 5 metabolic risk factors: our program as assessed by the outcome
elevated waist circumference (>35 in. women, >40 in. men), high triglycerides (150), low HDL instruments used (Table 3). Table 4
(40 men, 50 women), high blood pressure (130/85), high fasting blood sugar (100).
summarizes responses from the
questionnaire regarding cooking
patterns. These show improvements from
participants (80%) had at least one part to 4 subjects changing employment baseline to end of program in the
elevated cardiovascular risk factor and 11 during the follow-up period. following measures: cooking meals from
(27.5%) had metabolic syndrome, while scratch at home more often, cooking
22.5% had no known risk factors. There Biometric Assessments convenience and ready-made meals less
were 8 couples that jointly participated Pilot biometric data from baseline to often, reading nutrition labels on
in all classes, and about one third of 14 to 16 weeks (Table 2) suggested purchased foods more often, and feeling
participants had children living at home statistically significant (P < .05) more confident cooking, following a
(Table 1). decreases in body weight, BMI, waist recipe, tasting new foods, and cooking
Program completion was 100% for both circumference, systolic and diastolic new foods and recipes. All of these
cohorts with no dropouts and high blood pressure, and total cholesterol in improvements persisted but appeared to
attendance rates (86% in Cohort 1, 92% our sample of 40. Changes in have diminished slightly at 6 and 12
in Cohort 2). Response rates for triglycerides, HDL, and LDL trended months.
completing pre-post questionnaires and down, while fasting glucose increased We collected approximately 400 food
obtaining blood tests were ~100% for all slightly, but none of these measures purchase receipts in total from all of the
measures (Note: HDL was only collected was statistically significantly different participants. Ninety-seven percent of the
for Cohort 2), and dropped to 90% at 6 at the end of the educational households submitted at least one food
months and 80% at 12 months, owing in intervention. receipt; however, the complete receipt

vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

Table 2.
Changes in Biometrics at Baseline and Immediate Postintervention (16 or 14 Weeks) for Both Cohorts (n = 39a).

Baseline Mean Postintervention

Outcome (SD) Mean (SD) Mean Change % Change P Valueb
Weight (kg) 92.7 (25.7) 89.9 (24.6) 2.8 (4.0) 1.2% <0.05

BMI (kg/m2) 33.3 (8.4) 32.3 (8.1) 1.0 (1.5) 2.7% <0.05

Waist circumference (in.) 41.3 (8.0) 39.5 (7.9) 2.2 (2.8) 4.6% <0.05

SBP (mm Hg) 134.3 (20.0) 126.5 (17.5) 7.7 (15.5) 5.6% <0.05

DBP (mm Hg) 82.0 (10.2) 75.7 (11.9) 6.3 (9.1) 7.9% <0.05

Total cholesterol (mg/dL) 187.1 (41.7) 179.5 (41.9) 7.5 (23.1) 4.4% <0.05

Triglycerides (mg/dL) 124.5 (93.8) 112.3 (53.5) 12.2 (70.1) 9.8% 0.28

HDL (mg/dL) 52.4 (17.5) 50.5 (14.3) 1.9 (4.9) 3.6% 0.10

LDL (mg/dL)c 105.0 (34.5) 102.4 (33.6) 2.6 (14.7) 2.5% 0.44

Fasting glucose (mg/dL) 110.0 (53.3) 112.3 (53.7) 2.4 (13.5) +2.1% 0.28

Abbreviations: BMI, body mass index; SBP, systolic blood pressure; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; LDL, HDL, low-density
N = 39 instead of 40 because measurements were not available for one participant due to a logistical lab error.
The baseline to postintervention difference for continuous variables were tested using 1-sample paired Students t tests. P < .05 indicates statistically
significant differences.
LDL measures were only taken in Cohort 2, N = 20.

Table 3.
Questionnaires Used to Assess Behavioral Change.

Questionnaire Recommended
Domain Reason(s) for Choosing Suggestive Observations From for Use in Future Studies and
Assessed This Instrument Pilot Study Dataa Rationale
I.Dietary Short, simple 21-item Increased consumption of dark Questions did not capture as
Intake/Eating validated tool with leafy greens, fish/seafood, and extensive dietary changes as
Profile25 aggregate score whole grains, and less beef/pork/ encouraged in our program
that distinguishes lamb, processed meat, refined (eg, eating freshly prepared
characteristics of a grains, and baked goods. whole foods vs processed
healthy versus less food). We will consider a
healthy diet. modification of the assessment
tool we used, possibly the
blinded Food Frequency
Questionnaire38 along with a
3-day food diary.


American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Mon Mon XXXX

Table 3. (continued)

Questionnaire Recommended
Domain Reason(s) for Choosing Suggestive Observations From for Use in Future Studies and
Assessed This Instrument Pilot Study Dataa Rationale
II.Cooking Limited number of validated Cooked convenience/ready- Questions clear and easy to
Frequency and cooking assessments made meals less often. Read understand; however, some
Confidence24 available. This 17-item food labels more often. More questions in this instrument
tool captures changes in confident about: ability to were not specific to skills
cooking frequency and cook from basic ingredients, taught in the program.
confidence in 7 questions. following a simple recipe,
Consider changing to assess
tasting new foods, and
self-efficacy and attitudes
preparing and cooking new
toward cooking.39
foods and recipes.
III.Exercise Validated, simple and widely Suggestive increases in: METs- Consider changing to
Frequency & used assessment tool hour week, walking pace, International Physical Activity
Intensity26 to measure MET-hours/ number of days per week of Questionnaire for Adults40
week. exercise, number of flights of to assess more specific
stairs climbed daily. exercise and movement habits;
however, more complete
assessments and data tracking
using wearable devices to be
IV.Perceived Validated, widely used, Suggestive decrease from higher Questions easy and interpretable
Stress28 10-item tool to assess stress at baseline to average from study participant and
changes in the levels of stress levels at the end of the analysis perspective.
experienced stress. 14- to 16-week program.
Continue to use this instrument.
V.Well-being Validated 26-item tool Suggestive improvements in: Questions not directly relatable to
used in similar health perceived sense of disease lessons taught in our program.
intervention studies to risk, physical response to diet, Data collected were not clearly
capture 6 categories of meal preparation and time interpretable.
physical and emotional costs, inconvenience for family
Consider changing to RAND
well-being. and outside of home, and food
36-Item Short Form Health
deprivation and dissatisfaction.
Survey41 using subscales
for general health, energy/
fatigue, and emotional well-
VI.Mindful Validated 28-item tool with No average changes in mindful Continue to use this instrument
Eating27 one aggregate score that eating as assessed by total score for now as it is the only
focuses specifically on using this instrument. validated mindful eating tool
mindful eating practices. currently available; however,
This lack of change in scores was
a more global assessment
inconsistent with subjective
of mindfulness may be
descriptions by participants.
Pilot study was not powered to provide stable estimates from statistical analyses. These results are only suggestive of trends seen in this sample of 40
from baseline to end of the intervention at 16 or 14 weeks. Many of these suggestive trends were no longer observed or lessened throughout the 12-month
follow-up period. Identical questionnaires were used at all 4 time points and responses may not reflect self-perceived changes from baseline, but rather
from the last time subjects were asked the same question. In future studies, we may develop our own additional questionnaires, such as surveys to assess
perceived creativity and work-life balance; and wording of all instruments may explicitly ask respondents to compare their current behaviors or perceptions
to those assessed previously (ie, at baseline or as compared with specific prior interval assessment).

vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

Table 4.
Self-Reported Cooking Frequency and Confidence in the Kitchen.

Frequency/Confidence Time of % Never/Not % Sometimes/ # of

Performing Task, n = 40 Assessment at All Somewhat % Always/Very Responses
1.How often do you Pre 20.5 66.7 12.8 39
cook convenience and
ready-made meals Post 45.0 55.0 0 40

6 months 50.0 50.0 0 36

12 months 37.5 53.1 9.4 32

2.How often do you Pre 18.4 55.3 26.3 38

prepare and cook a
main meal from basic Post 0 46.2 53.9 39
ingredients 6 months 0 55.9 44.1 34

12 months 0 56.3 43.75 32

3.How confident do you Pre 10.3 38.5 51.3 39

feel about being able
to cook from basic Post 0 17.5 82.5 40
ingredients 6 months 0 2.8 97.2 36

12 months 0 12.5 87.5 32

4.How confident do you Pre 0 30.8 69.2 39

feel about following a
simple recipe Post 0 5.1 94.9 39

6 months 0 5.6 94.4 36

12 months 0 6.3 93.8 32

5.How confident do you Pre 0 41.0 59.0 39

feel about tasting new
foods Post 0 17.5 82.5 40

6 months 0 25 75 36

12 months 0 21.9 78.1 32

6.How confident do you Pre 5.13 46.2 48.7 39

feel about preparing
and cooking new foods Post 0 25 75 40
and recipes 6 months 0 22.2 77.8 36

12 months 3.1 21.9 75 32

7.Do you read nutrition Pre 15 57.5 27.5 40

labels on purchased
foods Post 0 27.5 70 40
6 months 0 25.7 74.3 35
12 months 0 34.4 65.6 32

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Mon Mon XXXX

collection protocol requiring a full week interdisciplinary approach to improved for Credentialing Health & Wellness
of all food and restaurant receipts was health and wellness that includes Coaches to create a certification for
only completed by 60% of the participants, hands-on culinary instruction, health coaches,33 thereby setting core
making results from any of the analyses mindfulness training, and health competency standards in an area relevant
highly prone to selection bias and coaching, in addition to nutrition to the future refinement of TK programs.
therefore our analyses are not reported. education and physical activity As we observed in our pilot,
Additionally, we found our receipt promotion. We conducted this pilot with physiological and behavioral changes
collection methodology, with paper copies the involvement of CIA (nonculinary) that study subjects experienced during
of receipts from supermarkets, restaurants, employees as proxies for employees at the intervention appeared to diminish
and convenience stores, cumbersome. other self-insured organizations across over the course of 12 months and this, in
Moreover, the lack of computerized data the United States. Our results suggest hindsight, may have been due to the lack
entry systems made this approach that this prototype TK self-care of built-in follow-up support after month
inefficient and of questionable reliability. curriculum was feasible in this particular 4 in the initial prototype protocol. This
Regular use of a personal activity workplace setting given the ease of was due to financial limitations of the
monitoring device (pedometer) recruitment, 100% program completion, pilot. Prior studies have indicated that
throughout the duration of the program high attendance, and high response rates ongoing reinforcement of learned
varied with 65% of Cohort 1 compared to on repeated assessments. It is important behavioral change is essential to the
100% of Cohort 2 wearing the devices. to note that this was the first formation of sustained change.32 More
Seven participants lost the device and implementation of this prototype TK built-in follow-up opportunities, along
received a replacement. In addition, 90% program and therefore not necessarily with additional ongoing offerings of a TK
(n = 36) of participants accessed the gym representative of all potential TK models program for employees in a worksite
facility at least one time, but frequency of in terms of choice of facilities, core setting, may serve to engage additional
use varied with less than half (45%, n = content, feasibility and effectiveness. employees and thereby shift a corporate
18) of participants having accessed the It is also worth noting that this model, worksite in the direction of enhanced,
gym 10 or more times during the study unlike interventions that are based on and more sustained, self-care and
period. (Note: Some subjects belonged to restrictive diets, allowed for an ad wellness, thereby promoting a culture of
other gym facilities, precluding their use of libitum food intake on the part of TK health.
the gym facility that was offered as part of trainees, thereby allowing them to This prototype TK curriculum, which
this pilot study.) Ten individuals (25%) establish new dietary habits in the was designed with extensive input from
continued their membership (at their own absence of strict prohibitions and the professional chef educators at the CIA,
expense) at the participating gym after the concomitant feelings of perceived included the conceptual notion of
program. deprivation which often accompany technique driven, recipe inspired
Participants were matched with 1 of 4 many diets. As such, this prototype culinary instruction. This is typical of
health coaches based on logistics of model may be of interest to individuals professional culinary instruction and was
scheduling and were encouraged to talk who are not interested in restrictive viewed as a key asset to this novel
with their health coach once a week. diets, or those for whom diets have curricular model. Instead of teaching
The majority (73%) of all participants not led to successful and sustained trainees how to make an individual
consulted with their health coach more behavioral and clinical change. recipe, each week was focused on 1 or
than every other week for 14 to 16 This program was well received by the 2 essential culinary techniques (such as
weeks, with few missed appointments or study subjects most likely because of its how to make a soup, or a whole grain,
late cancellations (<5%). The feedback interdisciplinary approach, incorporating or a salad and salad dressing) with the
with regard to health coaching was both didactic and experiential learning in goal of showcasing a core technique
positive as multiple participants a group setting, and access to instead of an individual recipe using that
conveyed the perception that health individualized health coaching. Little is technique. Once the technique had been
coaches customized the program for known about the combined effect of applied to any singular recipe, trainees
each individual by (a) helping them multiple components and/or their were shown and encouraged to apply
identify personal motivations and (b) relative contribution to observed changes this core technique to variations of the
talking through personalized strategies in relevant outcomes. A growing body of initial recipe (ie, a range of soups, salads,
for implementing new life skills learned research is showing the positive effects and whole grain dishes) but with a
during the educational intervention. of health coaching,32 and we feel that customization of essential ingredients,
this is a critical component of future spices, flavorings, and presentations. As
models of sustainable, enhanced such, this technique driven, recipe
behavior change. Additionally, the US inspired aspect of this TK prototype
To our knowledge, this is the first study National Board of Medical Examiners has curriculum was a unique feature of this
to investigate the feasibility of an partnered with the National Consortium prototype TK curriculum.

vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

While subjects in this pilot study stated and TKs raises the question as to facilities, socioeconomic populations,
that their culinary skills had improved whether this model is feasible and and community settings. Lastly, future
over the course of 14 to 16 weeks (and replicable elsewhere and, therefore, evaluations will benefit from the
investigators and chefs overseeing the generalizable. As dozens of US health incorporation of relevant financial data to
pilot observed this to be true), we did care facilities and corporate worksites assess potential cost-saving benefits for
not collect objective data (ie, photos, have already built demonstration and/or employees and their third-party payers,
videos, blind tastings) to confirm these TK facilities, we see this as a trend that some of which may be enhanced by
self-reported data. There is currently no may allow for an expansion of this line employee incentive programs as are
validated tool whereby culinary skills, of inquiry for use by employees, K-12 occurring more frequently across the
competencies, and proficienciesor and university students, patients, and corporate landscape.36,37 These future
their improvement over timecan be community-based populations refinements are precisely the goals of the
objectively measured. Instead, the nationwide.3,34,35 recently launched Teaching Kitchen
current state of the science relies entirely While this pilot made use of a built-in Collaborative, which involves 32 member
on self-report, which may be highly kitchen, another approach would be to organizations with TK programs.34
unreliable. refine the curriculum to be delivered This TK intervention should be viewed
Importantly, this is a limitation of this using portable, or pop-up, kitchen as an initial prototype with the
study and all current studies involving facilities consisting of inexpensive cook understanding that there will likely be a
culinary instruction. Moreover, this tops, portable ovens, and access to range of TK models that, over time, can
highlights the need for the development cafeteria sinks and refrigerators. This and should be implemented, evaluated,
of such evaluative tools, ideally with the pop-up approach, ideally suitable for and refined for their application to
combined input of researchers, trained any worksite (or school/community different populations, including (a)
chefs, and relevant experts in emerging venue) with a cafeteria, could potentially patients with increased cardiovascular
technologies, for example, computerized address relevant concerns about the risk; (b) employees with and without
visual recognition platforms. need to minimize start-up costs and chronic disease at worksites; (c) students
Regarding the tracking of physical increase the programs scalability and in K-12, college, and university settings;
activity, the personal activity monitors we generalizability at sites that do not (d) retirees; (e) community populations;
used were in their early phases of envision the build out of expensive, built (f) military and VA populations, and
development and, as such, were in, kitchen facilities. others. In addition, TK curricula, if
sometimes cumbersome for the In our case, the cost of developing and implemented and shown to be replicable
participants to wear. It was not implementing this pilot curriculum, and effective, should, ideally, be
uncommon for a participant to lose them. including research personnel time in customized in order to meet the specific
Additionally, the format by which the addition to culinary instruction and food needs, aspirations, and financial
data were collected was difficult to costs, was prohibitively expensive (ie, requirements of each individual
manipulate and incomplete (because of several hundred thousand dollars over 2 population and setting. This portfolio of
lost monitors). We therefore chose not to years) and only made possible due to research is being planned by the recently
analyze these data, but rather to work on generous donor support and in-kind launched Teaching Kitchen
further refinements of this aspect for contributions by the coauthors Collaborative.34
future TK trials. Specifically, future studies partnering institutions. The bulk of these Our results suggest that a TK and
will benefit from emerging IT platforms expenses, however, related to the self-care curriculum involving hands-on
that allow for data capture from all research infrastructure (such as salary culinary education, mindfulness training,
commercially available energy tracking support for co-investigators) necessary to health coaching, nutrition instruction,
devices, regardless of manufacturer, and recruit and follow study participants over and exercise promotion is feasible and
these will be routinely employed in 12 months. By comparison, the food that the impact of TK programs on
clinical trials involving counseling in the costs per subject were estimated at $400 relevant behavioral and clinical outcomes
areas of movement and exercise. per person per cohort. can be measured. Given trends with
An additional limitation of this study Further refinement of this prototype regard to obesity and diabetes, and in
was the setting of the CIA, where curriculum will need to explore how it light of societal aspirations to move from
employees were recruited as proxies for can be made more cost-effective and a fee for service to a capitated scheme of
employees at other corporate readily accessible to larger audiences medical reimbursement, thereby
organizations and worked in proximity to using videotaped and other web-based incentivizing patients, providers, and
kitchen facilities that are not generally components. The curriculum will also payers to keep people well,35 additional
representative of facilities currently need to be customized for different research involving the models and
available at worksites, schools, high- and low-risk populations, with or parallel curricula being devised by
universities, and community-based without spousal/partner participation, additional groups with TKs is
venues. Use of the CIAs demonstration across different workplaces, kitchen recommended.

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Mon Mon XXXX

In terms of future research in this area, capable of demonstrating predictable these changes over time; and (e)
it will be important to demonstrate that changes in behaviors, clinical outcomes, capable of demonstrating sufficient
TK curricula are or are not (a) and, ideally, costs; (d) superior to return on investment to warrant third
replicable from site to site; (b) adaptable existing, popular diets in terms of party payment and/or inclusion in
to a range of study populations; (c) changes over time and sustainability of employee benefits.


List of Food Categories Created for This Pilot Study.

Meats and Eggs

Leaner meats: more healthy Poultry, fish
Eggs and egg substitutes: more healthy Shell eggs, egg beaters, carton egg whites
Red or processed meats: less healthy Beef, pork, lamb, lunchmeat, hotdogs
Vegetables (including greens, tomatoes, avocados)
Whole vegetables: more healthy Fresh, canned, frozen vegetables
Modified vegetables: less healthy Vegetables in cream sauce, fried potatoes
Whole fruits: more healthy Fresh, canned, frozen, dried unsweetened fruits
Modified fruits: less healthy Canned in syrup, applesauce, sweetened fruits
Whole grain products: more healthy Whole grain bread, cornmeal, plain popcorn
Simple carbohydrate products: less healthy White bread, sugary cereals, pie crusts
Whole products: more healthy Dry or canned beans, peas, chickpeas
Modified products: less healthy Refried beans, baked beans
Whole products: more healthy Walnuts, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter
Modified products: less healthy Honey-roasted peanuts, peanut butter with added sugars
Plant-based fats: more healthy Olive oil, canola oil, vegetable shortening
Animal-based fats: less healthy Butter, lard
Trans fats: less healthy Margarine
Snacks and Sweets
Salty snacks: less healthy Chips, pretzels, flavored popcorn
Sweetened snack foods: less healthy Cookies, donuts, ice cream, sweetened yogurt


vol. XX no X American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine


Noncaloric beverages: more healthy Water, unsweetened tea, coffee
100% fruit/vegetable juices: more healthy V8, Tropicana orange juice
Sugar-sweetened beverages: less healthy Sugary sodas, sweetened tea
Premade Foods
Prepackaged entrees: less healthy Frozen pizza, canned soup
Deli foods (otherwise unclassifiable): less healthy Coleslaw, potato salad
Eating Out (for counts and dollar amounts only)
Leaner meat or vegetarian entre: more healthy Grilled chicken salad, veggie burger
Side dish, fried: less healthy French fries, onion rings
Appetizer: less healthy Egg roll, mozzarella sticks
Red or processed meat entre: less healthy Hamburger, pork chop
Side dish, nonfried: more healthy Cooked vegetable, side salad
Dessert/sweetened snacks: less healthy Milkshake, doughnut

3. Eisenberg DM, Burgess JD. Nutrition

Authors Note Funding education in an era of global obesity and
Sampson Foundation; Mike Arteagas Health and Fitness The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial diabetes: thinking outside the box. Acad
Centers; Tom Blackadar and Fitlinxx; and Lockton Companies support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this Med. 2015;90:854-860.
(the funding agencies) had no role in the design, analysis, or article: We would like to thank the Sampson Foundation for 4. Sacks FM, Bray GA, Carey VJ, etal.
writing of this article. their generous financial support of this project in addition to Comparison of weight-loss diets with
in-kind support from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public different compositions of fat, protein, and
Health, the Samueli Institute and The Culinary Institute of carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:
Acknowledgments America; Mike Arteaga and his staff at Mike Arteagas Health 859-873.
and Fitness Centers for donating gym membership to
We would like to thank our 40 participants, in addition to all the 5. Katz DL, Meller S. Can we say what diet is
participants; Tom Blackadar and Fitlinxx for donating fitness
staff and faculty of the collaborating institutionsThe Culinary best for health? Annu Rev Public Health.
tracking devices (Pebble) to our participants and providing
Institute of America, The Samueli Institute, and the Harvard T. 2014;35:83-103.
excellent technical support; and Lockton Companies for
H. Chan School of Public Health. 6. GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of
covering the costs of lab work. AJLM
Death Collaborators. Global, regional,
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Conflicting Interests References for 249 causes of death, 1980-2015:
1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal a systematic analysis for the Global
The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet.
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