Look who's cooking. Investigating the relationship between watching educational and edutainment TV cooking shows, eating habits and everyday cooking practices among men and women in Belgium.

Publication Date: Friday 1 January 2016
Author(s): De Backer, C.J.S. & Hudders, L.
Appeared in: Appetite, vol.: 96, 494-501


Television (TV) cooking shows have evolved from focusing on educating to also focusing on entertaining. Now, educational TV cooking shows focus on the transfer of cooking knowledge and skills, while edutainment TV cooking shows focus on entertaining their viewers. Both types of shows are ongoing success stories. However, little is known about their links with the cooking and eating habits of their audiences. Therefore, the current study investigates the relationship between watching an educational or an edutainment TV cooking show and one’s cooking and eating habits. Given public health concerns about declines in cooking behaviors and the simultaneous increased caloric intake from food outside the home, this study suggests a promising intervention. The results of a cross-sectional survey in Belgium (n = 845) show that the audiences of educational and edutainment TV cooking shows do not overlap. While there is little connection between watching specific shows and eating behavior, the connection between watching shows and cooking behaviors varies across gender and age lines. Behaviors also differ depending on whether the viewer is watching an educational or edutainment cooking show. For example, men of all ages appear to cook more often if they watch an educational show. However, only older men (above 38 years) seem to cook more often if they watch an edutainment TV show. The results show that it is worthwhile to further investigate the relationship between watching TV cooking shows and cooking habits.

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