Rationale and Design of the Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative: A 12-month Culinary-Based Lifestyle Program
Objective: To present the rationale and design of a comprehensive teaching kitchen-based worksite wellness clinical trial designed to improve health behaviors and chronic disease outcomes of employees through self-efficacy development.
Design: The Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative (EHKC) was a 12-month multidisciplinary, skill-building program that began with a 10-week interactive curriculum followed by continued support and access to health coaching. The self-care curriculum combined didactic, experiential, and group learning in nutrition, culinary arts, exercise, yoga, mindful eating, stress resilience, and ethnobotany.
Setting: Emory University Hospital, part of the largest academic health system in Atlanta, Georgia.
Participants: Forty benefits-eligible employees, with preference given to those with elevated body mass index, co-morbid conditions, and high levels of motivation for lifestyle change.
Results: Data was collected for evaluation of the interactive curriculum in increasing knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy; feasibility of the program; and changes in health behaviors (through self-assessment surveys) and health outcomes (body composition and blood pressure). Future analysis will include comparative statistics and chi-square tests which will be used to measure intermediate (3- and 6- month) and longer-term (1 year) changes in each quantitative variable. We will use qualitative data analysis on free-form participant feedback data.
Conclusions: We believe our multidisciplinary, skill-building, teaching kitchen intervention is an innovative model for promoting salubrious health behaviors and a culture of health in worksites. This pilot will allow for a thorough assessment of the value of this type of program to employers and employees alike and seeks to aid in development and standardization of future culinary-based comprehensive lifestyle disease prevention and health promotion programs.