The place of cooking in healthy eating: A study on the perception of young people in Hong Kong on food preparation skills

Wai Ling Theresa LAI-YEUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Whilst convenience food and ready-prepared meals are becoming more popular, cooking skills are viewed by many as no longer necessary nowadays. However, food experts argue that the absence of cooking skills may be a barrier to achieving a healthy life. Pertaining to the debate about food preparation skills as one of the essential practical skills young people need to learn in order to equip themselves for independent adult life, this study aims to to investigate the issue in the Hong Kong context. A questionnaire survey (n=588) was conducted among secondary school students aged 11 to 18 years in Hong Kong. Data regarding subjects’ experiences in cooking, their attitudes about cooking skills, their families’ cooking habits and factors influencing subjects’ choice of ingredients and cooking methods were elicited. Findings revealed that cooking was generally considered to be interesting and important by young people, and more respondents cooked by reason of their own interest than responsibility. Mothers were the most frequently cited source of cooking skills (47%), with school second (27%), recipe books third (11%), fathers fourth (7%) and TV programs least (4%). With regard to frequency of cooking at home, responses varied from never to once a day. The majority of the sample claimed that their family meals were primarily prepared with fresh food ingredients, and more than 60% respondents have confidence in using fresh ingredients to cook. Yet most of the respondents either never or rarely have chances to cook together with their parents. The implications of the findings are discussed in the paper. Attempts are made to provide useful information for further research and for schools’ initiatives of hands-on approaches to food and nutrition education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007



Lai-Yeung, W. L. T. (2007, January). The place of cooking in healthy eating: A study on the perception of young people in Hong Kong on food preparation skills. Paper presented at the 2007 Biennial Conference of the Home Economics Institute of Australia: Horizons in Home Economics, Sydney, Australia.


  • Cooking experience
  • Cooking skills
  • Domestic food preparation
  • Healthy eating
  • Nutrition education
  • Gender differences