Skip to main content

icook

iCook 4-H is a USDA funded 5-year, multi-state project focused on childhood obesity prevention in Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Introduction

iCook 4-H follows a multifaceted family intervention model to approach childhood obesity prevention from three distinct, yet complimentary, perspectives: cooking together, eating together, and playing together. At the core of iCook 4-H’s mission is its innovative concept of bringing parents and children together to work toward a healthier lifestyle as a team. In its curriculum, the program uses Social Cognitive Theory, a learn by watching model, and the Experiential 4-H Learning Model, centered around a trifecta of doing, reflecting, and applying.

If you would like to receive updates on the iCook 4-H curriculum, please leave your information at bit.ly/icook4h.

group photo of children participating in iCook

Aims

Design

The iCook 4-H program is centered around both community and age-appropriate culinary skills, physical activity, and family meal time as children aged 8-10 and their primary food preparers participated in a variety of interactive classes. Existing 4-H curricula, including Fast Foods and Youth in Motion, were adapted and utilized as resources for the program. Children are introduced to basic knife skills, recipe following, family play time opportunities, and the importance of family meals in their daily routine. Additionally, participants learn how to create well-balanced meals and use MyPlate tools. Parents gain valuable information about meal planning and preparation to promote healthy and more frequent family meals. Altogether, iCook 4-H is a 5-year project for a dyad (parent-child) model.

Year 1 | Pilot | Participants attend 6 biweekly sessions focusing on the core themes of cooking, eating, and playing. In between sessions, individuals complete goal setting and website activities.

Year 2 & 3 | Study | Participants attend 6 biweekly sessions focusing on the core themes of cooking, eating, and playing. Intervention individuals remained active for 2 years after the 12 week program through online activities, newsletters, and seasonal boosters.

Year 4 & 5 | Full Pilot | Dissemination via Cooperative Extension occurred in each state. Participants attend 8 biweekly sessions and engaged in online activities.

For more details, see our iCook Curriculum feedback presentation.

Outcome, Impact, & Future Work

In the areas of cooking and eating, both children and parents who attended session showed greater improvements in culinary skills, confidence, and frequency of family meals, compared to those who did not attend. Children who participated in higher levels of physical activity experienced higher quality of life, and overall, participants of iCook 4-H decreased their sedentary lifestyle. Youth participants of iCook 4-H are twice as likely to be civically active, make healthier choices, and participate in STEM outside of school.

iCook 4-H used eB4CAST to help communities implement the intervention, and demonstrate the program's impact in a specially tailored infographic format.

iCook 4-H is being implemented in West Virginia STEM programs (see below) and our five partner states, on its way to community dissemination.

iCook student examining apple

Additionally, in collaboration with Departments of Plant and Soil Science and Family Development, the iCook model was implemented for a pilot study entitled iGrow. This project studied the dyad model in a growing, cooking, and eating together program. Its focus was on container gardening with culinary skills to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in youth and adults.

Acknowledgements

iCook 4-H was a collaborative effort with individuals from the Healthy Campus Research Consortium (HCRC), a multi-state USDA research team who focus on applying behavioral theoretical models to the design of practical intervention strategies which promote healthy behavioral patterns and environments among young adults. The principle investigators from each university are listed below.

Adrienne White PhD, RDN - University of Maine

Sarah Colby PhD, RDN - University of Tennessee

Lisa Franzen-Castle PhD, RDN - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Kendra Kattelmann PhD, RDN - South Dakota State University

  Learn more about HCRC.

We also partnered with the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA), a West Virginia high school Health Sciences and STEM program committed to increasing research access and higher education opportunities for underrepresented students. HSTA is currently involved in rolling out the iCook 4-H curriculum in two areas of West Virginia. Students’ responsibilities include leading family classes, allowing them to directly invest into their own communities.

iCook 4-H was funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant 2012-68001-19605 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Childhood Obesity Prevention: Integrated Research, Education, and Extension to Prevent Childhood Obesity – A2101. State experiment stations in Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, and West Virginia also supported this research.

Posters & Publications

Smith E, Root A, Flanagan S, Aquirre T, Franzen-Castle L, Meade R, Colby S, Kabala C, Kattelmann K, Douglas M, White A, Olfert M. Assessing Blood Pressure and Quality of Life in 9-10 Year Old Children: iCook 4-H Pilot Study. Van Liere Conference, Morgantown, WV 2014.

White J, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A, Olfert M. Colelcting Highlights and Feedback from Leaders and Participants About Cooking and Physical Activity Program for Family Dyads: iCook 4-H Study. Van Liere Research Symposium Morgantown, WV. February 2015.

White J, Famodu O, Barr ML, Hagedorn R, Olfert M. Cooking, Mealtime & Physical Activities Incorporated in the Home Environment One Year After Initial Intervention: iCook 4-H. Van Liere Research Symposium Morgantown, WV. February 2015.

Hagedorn RL, Yuhase S, Ammons B, White JA, Olfert MD. Using HSTA Teens as Leaders.  Annual iCook 4-H Meeting. Portland, ME. July 20-23, 2015.

White J, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Kattleman K, White A, Olfert M. iCook 4-H Project: Collecting Impact Observed from Participants and Leaders About a Six-Session 5-State Program for Family Dyads. Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA July 2015. 

Hagedorn R, White J, Famodu O, Barr M, Hanks S, Chester A, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A, Olfert M. Using High School Leaders in Dissemination and Implementation Through the Health Sciences Technology Academy (HSTA): iCook 4-H. J Nutr Educ Behav 2015; 47(4) S38. DOI:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.04.101

Olfert M,  Famodu O, White J, Scatterday A, Barr M, Hagedorn R,  Franzen-Castle L, Colby S, Meade R, Kattelmann K, Wilson-Sweebe K,  Yerxa K, White A. Health Disparate Score Change Over 12 Months: iCook 4-H Study. Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2015.

Olfert M, Scatterday A, Famodu O, White J, Barr M, Hagedorn R, Meade R, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Wilson-Sweebe K, Kattelmann K, Yerxa K, White A. Health Disparate Score Change Over 12 Months: iCook 4-H Study. J Nutr Educ Behav 2015; 47(4), S83. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.04.219

Olfert M, Famodu O, White J, Barr M, Hagedorn R, Meade R, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Aguirre T, Kabala C, Kattelmann K, Mathews D, White A. Blood Pressure and Quality of Life in 9-11 Year Old Youth and Adult Dyad Pairs Over One Year: iCook 4-H. J Nutr Educ Behav 2015; 47(4)S83-84. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.04.220

Parsley MC, Barr ML, Olfert MD. Analysis of Dosage via Combination Intteraction in iCook 4-H Program. Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Meeting (SURE), Morgantown, WV, July 23, 2015

Hagedorn RL, Olfert MD. Using Teen Peer-Leaders to Implement the iCook 4-H Childhood Obesity Prevention Program.  National McNair/SSS Research Conference and Graduate School Fair oral presentation . University of Delaware. Newark, DE. Oct 9, 2015.

King SJE, Olfert MD, Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, Morris AM, Colby SE, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann KK, White AA. iCook 4-H: Using Ripple Effect Mapping to Determine Impact- 2 Years Post-Intervention. Davis College Graduate Research Day . Morgantown, WV. April 2016.

Olfert MD, King SJE, Hagedorn RL, Morris AM, Famodu OA, Barr ML, Morrison P, Colby S, Franzen Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A. Using Tailored Infographics and Narrative Summaries to Empower Communities for Dissemination and Implementation of Programming through eB4CAST: iCook 4-H. SNEB Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA. July 30, 2016.

Olfert MD, King SJE, Hagedorn RL, Morris AM, Famodu OA, Barr ML, Morrison P, Colby S, Franzen Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A. Using Tailored Infographics and Narrative Summaries to Empower Communities for Dissemination and Implementation of Programming through eB4CAST: iCook 4-H.  SNEB Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA. July 30, 2016.

Hofer EJ, Kattelmann KK, Merfeld CM, Meendering JR, Olfert MD, Hagedorn RL, Colby S, Franzen-Castle L, Mathews DR, White AA. iCook 4-H: Baseline to 24-month accelerometer-derived physical activity in 9-10 year old youth.  SNEB Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA. July 30, 2016.

Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, King SJ, Morris AM, Colby SE, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A, Olfert MD. A Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to Increase Cooking, Eating, and Playing Together in Families: iCook 4-H Study.  West Virginia Family Medicine Conference. Morgantown, WV. September 2016.

Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, King SJ, Morris AM, Colby SE, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A, Olfert MD. A Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to Increase Cooking, Eating, and Playing Together in Families: iCook 4-H Study.  West Virginia Rural Health Conference. Logan, WV. October 2016.

King SJE, Olfert MD, Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, Morris AM, Colby SE, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann KK, White AA. iCook 4-H: Using Ripple Effect Mapping to Determine Impact- 2 Years Post-Intervention.  West Virginia Rural Health Conference. Logan, WV. October 2016.

Olfert MD, Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, King SJ, Colby SE, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann K, White A. A Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to Increase Cooking, Eating, and Playing Together in Families: iCook 4-H Study. Annual  Adolescent and Young Adult Research Symposium . Pittsburgh, PA. May 2017

King SJE, Hagedorn RL, Famodu OA, Barr ML, Morris AM, Colby SM, Franzen-Castle L, Kattelmann KK, White AA, Olfert MD. Using Impact Mapping in a Culinary Program Targeting Youth and Adult Dyads.  Annual Adolescent and Young Adult Research Symposium. Pittsburgh, PA. May 2017