BOSTON, February 10, 2022— A new article published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior concludes that participants of Oldways’ six-week cooking curriculum, A Taste of African Heritage, experience improvements in weight, systolic blood pressure, and waist size, as well as higher intake of fruit, vegetables, greens, and higher frequency of exercise.
“These results are significant,” said Kelly LeBlanc, MLA, RD, LDN, one of the authors of this study and Oldways Director of Nutrition. “Participation in A Taste of African Heritage was associated with healthy behavioral changes. These results show that integrating cultural heritage helps people adopt the healthy, ‘old ways’ of eating.”
In this study, Oldways collaborated with researchers at the University of Minnesota to analyze data from participants of the A Taste of African Heritage program.
A Taste of African Heritage is a six-week cooking and nutrition curriculum designed by the food and nutrition nonprofit Oldways, based on healthy plant foods (like leafy greens, whole grains, and beans) from across the African diaspora. The curriculum brings to light a culinary legacy and the often-unsung cultural ownership of healthy eating for people of African descent that is depicted in the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, developed by Oldways and an expert committee of nutrition scientists and culinary historians, including award winning culinary historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris and Harvard School of Public Health nutrition scientist Walter Willett. Indeed, 98 percent of participants in this new study reported that heritage was a motivator for change.
“The African cooking series connects our roots with food by combining flavors, foods, and stories!” wrote one participant from Atlanta, Georgia. “I love it! There is so much I didn’t know. I’m excited I was able to connect with my parents’ Kenyan roots and make dishes from there.”
A Taste of African Heritage is included in the SNAP-Ed library, and can be taught by anyone working in nutrition, education, food service, faith-based initiatives, community outreach work, or public health and wellness. You don’t have to be a chef or nutrition professional. Lesson plans have easily-followed, step-by-step guides for preparing and teaching. On December 1, 2021, a new online e-course launched, making this program available to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Please contact for more information about the study and the A Taste of African Heritage program.