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Kids in Kitchen: A way forward in nutrition education


With the rapid rise of childhood obesity and unhealthy eating practices among Malaysian children, nutrition education must expand beyond a four-walled classroom-based learning.

It is now time to act by bringing nutrition education to greater heights. This is exactly what KidChen Study (kids in kitchen) is all about. KidChen Study is a culinary nutrition education programme, systematically developed and led by Asst. Prof. Dr Satvinder Kaur from Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University.

This project was aimed to educate children about nutrition, through fun and engaging meal preparation activities. Through this programme, children learnt about food in its natural state by preparing their own healthy meals using core food groups like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein foods and dairy.

No doubt, children’s sense of wonder and curiosity should not be neglected. Children are great experimenters; they learn by seeing, doing and experiencing.

It is through hands-on healthy meal preparation that children can obtain healthy experiences with fresh real foods using all five human senses- the sense of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell.

The feeling of excitement and personal achievement involved when and after preparing meals certainly helped.

Culinary nutrition education allows children to gain practical food skills, develop a love for healthy foods and empower them to eat healthily.

Asst. Prof. Dr Satvinder and PhD student Ng Choon Ming demonstrated exactly that after participating in culinary nutrition education programme; and observed that children improved their knowledge, attitude and confidence in preparing healthy meals.

This further extend to the actual behaviour of helping to prepare healthy meals at home for a healthier diet.

KidChen Study has won numerous awards at national and international conferences, including Best Oral Presentation (2nd prize) at Nutrition Society Malaysia Scientific Conference 2019, Best Poster Presentation in Malaysian for the Study of Obesity Conference 2019 and Best Guided Poster Presentation in International Congress on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome & Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity 2019 held in Seoul, Korea.

Indeed, many have recognised the potential of culinary nutrition education in affecting children’s nutrition. Unquestionably, every child should be taught to cook meals that can safeguard their lives as these are lifelong skills needed to survive and thrive, but somehow seemed to be forgotten.

To know more about the KidChen Study, please contact Assistant Professor Dr. Satvinder Kaur at satvinderkaur@ucsiuniversity.edu.my.

For more details on UCSI University postgraduate programme, please visit Office of Postgraduate Studies (OPS) at https://www.ucsiuniversity.edu.my/postgraduate; or enquire via email sec_pg@ucsiuniversity.edu.my (Student Enrollment Centre).