Magazine article Amber Waves

Use of Nutrition Information and the Food Healthfulness Gap

Magazine article Amber Waves

Use of Nutrition Information and the Food Healthfulness Gap

Article excerpt

Consumers have access to a variety of Government and private sources for nutrition information. A recent ERS study used data from USDA's 2012-13 National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) to explore whether consumers who say they are familiar with or use nutrition information (referred to subsequently as nutrition information use) actually make healthier food choices. The researchers found a positive relationship between nutrition information use and the nutritional quality of purchases from grocery and other food stores (food at home). However, for the average FoodAPS primary respondent, the nutritional quality of food purchased from fast-food places, sit-down restaurants, and other food-away-from-home sources did not vary significantly with his or her use of nutrition information.

FoodAPS is a nationally representative survey that collected unique and comprehensive information about household foods and beverages purchased or acquired for free over a 1-week period from grocery stores, eating places, and other sources such as schools, food pantries, and gardens. Researchers used a series of nine questions posed to FoodAPS households related to their awareness and use of various nutrition education initiatives to create a Nutrition Information Use index and used it to classify households into three information use categories: low users of nutrition information (39 percent of households), medium users of nutrition information (48 percent of households), and high users of nutrition information (13 percent of households). …

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