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Self-reported use of nutrition labels to make food choices is associated with healthier dietary behaviours in adolescents

Haidar, Amier, Carey, Felicia R, Ranjit, Nalini, Archer, Natalie, Hoelscher, Deanna
Public health nutrition 2017 v.20 no.13 pp. 2329-2339
African Americans, Hispanics, adolescents, beverages, body mass index, boys, ethnic differences, food choices, fruits, gender, girls, healthy diet, healthy eating habits, high school students, ideal body weight, nutrition knowledge, nutrition labeling, obesity, parent education, physical activity, questionnaires, regression analysis, schools, socioeconomic status, surveys, vegetables, youth, Texas
The study aimed to examine nutrition label use and dietary behaviours among ethnically diverse middle- and high-school students, in Texas, USA. The School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) survey is a cross-sectional statewide study using a self-administered questionnaire to assess nutrition and physical activity behaviours. Height and weight measurements were used to determine BMI. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine associations between nutrition label use and dietary behaviours, with gender, grade, ethnicity, BMI, parent education, socio-economic status and nutrition knowledge as covariates. Participants from 283 schools, weighted to represent Texas youth. SPAN 2009–2011 included 6716 8th and 11th graders (3465 girls and 3251 boys). The study population consisted of 39·83 % White/Other, 14·61 % African-American and 45·56 % Hispanic adolescents; with a mean age of 14·9 years, and 61·95 % at a healthy weight, 15·71 % having overweight and 22·34 % having obesity. Adolescents who did not use nutrition labels had 1·69 times greater odds of consuming ≥1 sugary beverages/d (P<0·05). Adolescents who used nutrition labels had 2·13 times greater odds of consuming ≥1 fruits and vegetables/d (P<0·05). Adolescents who used nutrition labels had significantly higher healthy eating scores than those who did not (P<0·001). For every 1-point increase in nutrition knowledge, adolescents had 1·22 greater odds of using nutrition labels. Nutrition label use is associated with healthier dietary behaviours in adolescents. Intervention strategies for youth should include efforts to teach adolescents to use labels to make healthy food choices.