Associations between cooking skills, cooking with processed foods, and health: a cross-sectional study

Melissa A. Fernandez, Katerina Maximova, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Kim D. Raine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To improve health outcomes, home cooking has been suggested as a solution to reduce intakes of processed foods. However, little is known about how cooking skills or cooking with processed foods influence health. This cross-sectional study examined associations between diet and health outcomes with cooking skills and cooking with processed foods. The dataset included a nationally representative sample of 18 460 adults from Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) annual component rapid response modules on food skills. In the CCHS rapid response modules, diet and health outcomes (fruit and vegetable intake, general health, mental health, and obesity) and data related to cooking skills and cooking with processed foods were collected through self-report. Separate logistic regression models were fitted for each outcome, controlling for age, income, and edu-cation, and stratified by sex. Adults with poor cooking skills were less likely to have adequate fruit and vegetable intake (≥5 servings per day) (p < 0.001), very good general health (p < 0.001) or mental health (p < 0.001), and obesity (p = 0.02) compared to advanced cooking skills. Adults who cooked with highly processed foods were less likely to have adequate fruit and vegetable intake (p < 0.001), very good general health (p = 0.002) or mental health (p < 0.001), but more likely to have obesity (p = 0.03) compared to cooking with minimally processed foods. Cooking skills alone appear insufficient to protect against obesity. Results suggest that not only are cooking skills important, but the quality of ingredients also matter. Limiting the use of processed foods in addition to improving cooking skills are potential intervention targets to promote better health and diet outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-339
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).


  • cooking
  • diet
  • mental health
  • obesity
  • processed foods

Cite this