Confidence to Cook Vegetables and the Buying Habits of Australian Households
Cooking skills are emphasized in nutrition promotion but their distribution among population subgroups and relationship to dietary behavior is researched by few population-based studies. This study examined the relationships between confidence to cook, sociodemographic characteristics, and household vegetable purchasing. This cross-sectional study of 426 randomly selected households in Brisbane, Australia, used a validated questionnaire to assess household vegetable purchasing habits and the confidence to cook of the person who most often prepares food for these households. The mutually adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of lacking confidence to cook were assessed across a range of demographic subgroups using multiple logistic regression models. Similarly, mutually adjusted mean vegetable purchasing scores were calculated using multiple linear regression for different population groups and for respondents with varying confidence levels. Lacking confidence to cook using a variety of techniques was more common among respondents with less education (OR 3.30; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01 to 10.75) and was less common among respondents who lived with minors (OR 0.22; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.53) and other adults (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.24 to 0.78). Lack of confidence to prepare vegetables was associated with being male (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.24 to 4.08), low education (OR 6.60; 95% CI 2.08 to 20.91), lower household income (OR 2.98; 95% CI 1.02 to 8.72) and living with other adults (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.29 to 0.98). Households bought a greater variety of vegetables on a regular basis when the main chef was confident to prepare them (difference: 18.60; 95% CI 14.66 to 22.54), older (difference: 8.69; 95% CI 4.92 to 12.47), lived with at least one other adult (difference: 5.47; 95% CI 2.82 to 8.12) or at least one minor (difference: 2.86; 95% CI 0.17 to 5.55). Cooking skills may contribute to socioeconomic dietary differences, and may be a useful strategy for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.