Advertisement

Food Label Use and Its Relation to Dietary Intake among US Adults

      Abstract

      Rates of diet-related chronic disease combined with the lack of current data on patterns of food label use by the US population warrant re-examination of the use and potential influence of this public health tool. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of food label use and the association between food label use and nutrient intake in a nationally representative sample of US adults who participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Data on food label use were collected during the interview portion of the survey, and nutrient intake was estimated using the average of two 24-hour dietary recalls. In this sample, 61.6% of participants reported using the Nutrition Facts panel, 51.6% looked at the list of ingredients, 47.2% looked at serving size, and 43.8% reviewed health claims at least sometimes when deciding to purchase a food product. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in food label use across all demographic characteristics examined. Significant differences (P<0.05) in mean nutrient intake of total energy, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, dietary fiber, and sugars were observed between food label users and non-users with label users reporting healthier nutrient consumption. The greatest differences observed were for total energy and fat and for use of specific nutrient information on the food label. Despite food label use being associated with improved dietary factors, label use alone is not expected to be sufficient in modifying behavior ultimately leading to improved health outcomes.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Wright J.D.
        • Wang C.Y.
        • McDowell M.A.
        • Johnson C.L.
        Trends in intake of energy and macronutrients—United States, 1971-2000.
        MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004; 53 (K-SJ): 80-83
      1. Nutrient intakes: Mean amounts consumed per individual, one day, 2005-2006.
        (Accessed August 8, 2009)
        • Guenther P.M.
        • Dodd K.W.
        • Reedy J.
        • Krebs-Smith S.M.
        Most Americans eat much less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2006; 106: 1371-1379
        • Serdula M.K.
        • Gillespie C.
        • Kettel-Khan L.
        • Farris R.
        • Seymour J.
        • Denny C.
        Trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in the United States: Behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 1994-2000.
        Am J Public Health. 2004; 94: 1014-1018
        • Mokdad A.H.
        • Marks J.S.
        • Stroup D.F.
        • Gerberding J.L.
        Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000.
        JAMA. 2004; 291 (10): 1238-1245
      2. Food labeling guide.
        (Food and Drug Adminstiration, Center for Food Saftey and Applied Nutrition Web site. Published September 1994. Updated April 2008. Accessed August 4, 2009)
        • Taylor C.L.
        • Wilkening V.L.
        How the nutrition food label was developed, Part 1: The Nutrition Facts panel.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2008; 108: 437-442
        • Bender M.M.
        • Derby B.M.
        Prevelence of reading nutrition and ingredient information on food labels among adult Americans: 1982-1988.
        J Nutr Educ. 1992; 24: 292-297
        • Guthrie J.F.
        • Fox J.J.
        • Cleveland L.E.
        • Welsh S.
        Who uses nutrition labeling, and what effects does label use have on diet quality?.
        J Nutr Educ. 1995; 27: 163-172
        • Wang G.
        • Fletcher S.M.
        • Carley D.H.
        Consumer utilization of food labeling as a source of nutrition information.
        J Consumer Affairs. 1995; 29: 368-380
        • Blitstein J.L.
        • Evans W.D.
        Use of nutrition facts panels among adults who make household food purchasing decisions.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006; 38: 360-364
        • Neuhouser M.L.
        • Kristal A.R.
        • Patterson R.E.
        Use of food nutrition labels is associated with lower fat intake.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1999; 99: 45-53
        • Satia J.A.
        • Galanko J.A.
        • Neuhouser M.L.
        Food nutrition label use is associated with demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial factors and dietary intake among African Americans in North Carolina.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2005; 105: 392-402
        • Lin C.T.
        • Lee J.Y.
        • Yen S.T.
        Do dietary intakes affect search for nutrient information on food labels?.
        Soc Sci Med. 2004; 59: 1955-1967
        • Kreuter M.W.
        • Brennan L.K.
        • Scharff D.P.
        • Lukwago S.N.
        Do nutrition label readers eat healthier diets?.
        Am J Prev Med. 1997; 13: 277-283
        • Kim S.Y.
        • Nayga R.M.
        • Capps O.
        Food label use, self-selectivity, and diet quality.
        J Consumer Affairs. 2001; 35: 346-363
        • Govindasamy R.
        • Italia J.
        The influence of consumer demographic characteristics on nutritional label use.
        J Food Products Market. 1999; 5: 55-68
        • Macon J.F.
        • Oakland M.J.
        • Jensen H.H.
        • Kissack P.A.
        Food label use by older Americans: Data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the Diet and Health Knowledge Survey 1994-96.
        J Nutr Elder. 2004; 24: 35-52
        • Nayga R.M.
        Determinants of consumers' use of nutritional information on food packages.
        J Agric Applied Econ. 1996; 28: 303-312
        • Nayga R.M.
        Nutrition knowledge, gender, and food label use.
        J Consumer Affairs. 2000; 34: 97-112
        • Feick L.F.
        • Herrmann R.O.
        • Warland R.H.
        Search for nutrition information: A probit analysis of the use of different information sources.
        J Consumer Affairs. 1986; 20: 173-193
      3. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.
      4. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: Response rates & cps population totals. 2005-2006.
        (Accessed August 5, 2009)
      5. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: MEC in-person dietary interviewers procedures manual.
        (Accessed August 1, 2009)
      6. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Physical Activity Questionnaire.
        (Accessed Novemeber 15, 2009)
        • Kristal A.R.
        • Levy L.
        • Patterson R.E.
        • Li S.S.
        • White E.
        Trends in food label use associated with new nutrition labeling regulations.
        Am J Public Health. 1998; 88: 1212-1215
        • Philipson T.
        Government perspective: Food labeling.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2005; 82: 262S-264S
        • Silver L.
        • Bassett M.T.
        Food safety for the 21st century.
        JAMA. 2008; 300: 957-959

      Biography

      N. J. Ollberding is a postdoctoral fellow, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI; at the time of the study, he was a doctoral degree student, Program in Nutrition, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teacher's College, Columbia, University, New York, NY

      Biography

      R. L. Wolf is an associate professor of human nutrition on the Ella McCollum Vahlteich Endowment, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York, NY

      Biography

      I. Contento is Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition and Education, and coordinator, Program in Nutrition, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York, NY