Nutrition education, in the most traditional sense, is provided as a more formal education curriculum—reaching a set population on a regular basis over time. This approach is commonly used in school and clinical settings where the same group of people will be coming back regularly, but it is also widely used and can be an effective strategy in the community environment as well.
By increasing the frequency and dose of information exposure, research demonstrates that people are more likely to retain the information and turn knowledge into action. Workshops can be evaluated to better understand the impact on outcomes such as changes in dietary intake, knowledge, skills and changes in behavior. A great example of this approach can be seen in Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters, which reaches participants to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices and cook delicious, affordable meals. A robust evaluation of Cooking Matters found that improvements were made across people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.
Another example of an effective curriculum-based program was conducted at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and found that a six-week cooking program helped to improve food security, body weight and food purchases.