Alright, kids, put down your pencils and pick up your spatulas. A new study in the latest issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that the Cooking with Kids elementary school program is beneficial to young students. The program incorporates science, culture, geography and math into its food and nutrition educational system. And with child obesity rates at an all-time high, more schools may start considering adding food curriculum to the classroom.

Colorado State University conducted the study by interviewing 178 fourth-graders, plus teachers and food educators who took part in Cooking with Kids. As it turns out, kids enjoy making their own food and eating it too.

Founder Lynn Walters created separate curriculum for grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6, and all three programs encourage participants to respect their peers and treat cooking as fun, not a chore. Dr. Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, one of the doctors who worked on the study, said the results confirmed that cooking in the classroom is essential for encouraging a healthy lifestyle at an early age.

“It documents the importance of including cooking in school curriculum as it is a practical mechanism to promote health, social and educational skills to better prepare students for adulthood,” she said.

The article, “Qualitative Investigation of the Cooking with Kids Program: Focus Group Interviews with Fourth-Grade Students, Teachers, and Food Educator,” by Catherine V. Lukas, MS, RD and Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, PhD, RD. appears in the Nov./Dec. issue of Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 43, Issue 6.

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