Want to Keep Families Together? Teach the Kids to Cook.

Pennsauken, NJ, November 14, 2013 --(PR.com)-- A recent study commissioned by The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) has discovered that its Healthy Living Initiative cooking classes do more than fight obesity and teach good eating habits: they are giving Camden’s children a secret weapon in the fight for domestic stability – the family dinner table.

Having reached over 6,000 people in three years of hands on, interactive cooking classes and watching obesity rates drop in New Jersey (the results of a recent Center for Disease Control study), the Food Bank of South Jersey asked Rutgers University to explore what their Cooking Matters instructors had been seeing for a while. Children exposed to Cooking Matters classes were taking their newly acquired skills and nutritional knowledge and bringing it home. Compared to control groups, more Cooking Matters families were preparing and eating dinner together.

“The results were amazing,” says Val Traoré, FBSJ’s CEO. "Compared to control groups, families exposed to our classes were more likely to cook at home (33% vs. 18%), eat together as a family (67% vs. 27%) and use what they learned in class to guide their nutrition choices when they shopped and cooked (50% vs. 18%)."

A new ten-year study from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that children who eat meals with their families frequently (five times per week or more) are half as likely to get into unhealthy or illegal behaviors than children who rarely get to sit down and dine with the family. And in urban cities like Camden City, where the problems with drugs, crime and poverty have often stymied attempts to help the city achieve normalcy. “Certainly investing in infrastructure helps and is important to a city’s stability, but I think,” explains Traore “that there needs to be some thought on the most primal of social units – the family – the Food Bank of South Jersey is showing that what happens at home is bigger and ultimately better than all of that.”

Cooking Matters classes are also extended to senior citizens looking for effective and low cost ways to control the more devastating effects of diabetes and hypertension. We are working with partners such as the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers to see if classes can help reduce costs and maximize well being.For more information please contact Chris Seabo, (856) 662-4884 ext. 127.

About the Food Bank of South Jersey
The Food Bank of South Jersey is a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit food distribution center that provides perishable and shelf stable food to more than 100,000 adults, seniors and children that are at risk of going hungry in South Jersey. The largest and only nonprofit food distribution center devoted entirely to South Jersey, the Food Bank of South Jersey has distributed over 100 million pounds of food – the equivalent of 84 million meals since its inception in 1985. For more information, please visit: http://www.foodbanksj.org
Food Bank of South Jersey
Christine Seabo