Project First Steps: A Pilot Study

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Institution: (1) Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster Business School (UBS), University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (2) School of Health Science, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland.Background: Boys, especially from recognised deprived inner city/suburban areas are more likely to have poor diets, lower life skills in the form of cooking/shopping and are less likely to attend Higher Education Institutes (HEA’s).Aim: There were two main aims one focused on the practical cookery skills and advice on healthy eating the second was to introduce educational aspects into the food preparation and cooking process to try to encourage these pupils to consider continuing on into HEA’s.Methodology: 16, year 13 pupils from a Belfast Boys school were recruited. Five practical sessions were designed and delivered weekly over five weeks. Key areas identified were cookery skills, a balanced diet, cooking on a budget, cooking with the least amount of equipment/tools. The final lesson was chosen by the pupils themselves. Focus groups were also conducted at the start of the study to assess the current level of knowledge on cookery, healthy eating etc. A questionnaire was used to collect current educational status and possible career choices.Results: Thirteen of the sixteen pupils completed the questionnaires. Of those 31% had already taken GCSE's, 61.5% wanted to go on to university and career choices were wide and varied from psychologist or air traffic controller to oil rigs and holiday representative. Their food of choice was pizzas and burgers.All pupils tasted least one or more foods that they had never eaten before. However, it was shocking that several had never eaten simple foods such as: tomatoes, strawberries and parsnips, in addition they did not know how to use cutlery. Conclusion:This pilot study highlighted some areas of grave concern related to the pupil’s exposure to every day “healthy” foods and their cookery skills. Funding has been secured for phase 2 of first steps and is currently in progress, engaging two schools and 130 pupils aged 12-13 years old.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2014
EventASOi 3rd Conference, The Stigma of Obesity. - University of Ulster, Belfast Campus, 7th May.
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


ConferenceASOi 3rd Conference, The Stigma of Obesity.
Period1/01/14 → …


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