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Nutrients 2015, 7(2), 1068-1080; doi:10.3390/nu7021068

Relationships among Food Label Use, Motivation, and Dietary Quality

Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue Davis, CA 95616, USA
Nutrition Department, University of California, Davis One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Port Republic, MD 20676, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 December 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 5 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Choice and Nutrition: A Social Psychological Perspective)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [187 KB, uploaded 5 February 2015]   |  


Nutrition information on packaged foods supplies information that aids consumers in meeting the recommendations put forth in the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans such as reducing intake of solid fats and added sugars. It is important to understand how food label use is related to dietary intake. However, prior work is based only on self-reported use of food labels, making it unclear if subjective assessments are biased toward motivational influences. We assessed food label use using both self-reported and objective measures, the stage of change, and dietary quality in a sample of 392 stratified by income. Self-reported food label use was assessed using a questionnaire. Objective use was assessed using a mock shopping task in which participants viewed food labels and decided which foods to purchase. Eye movements were monitored to assess attention to nutrition information on the food labels. Individuals paid attention to nutrition information when selecting foods to buy. Self-reported and objective measures of label use showed some overlap with each other (r = 0.29, p < 0.001), and both predicted dietary quality (p < 0.001 for both). The stage of change diminished the predictive power of subjective (p < 0.09), but not objective (p < 0.01), food label use. These data show both self-reported and objective measures of food label use are positively associated with dietary quality. However, self-reported measures appear to capture a greater motivational component of food label use than do more objective measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: food choice; nutrition labels; motivation; attention relationships among food label use; motivation; dietary quality food choice; nutrition labels; motivation; attention relationships among food label use; motivation; dietary quality

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Miller, L.M.S.; Cassady, D.L.; Applegate, E.A.; Beckett, L.A.; Wilson, M.D.; Gibson, T.N.; Ellwood, K. Relationships among Food Label Use, Motivation, and Dietary Quality. Nutrients 2015, 7, 1068-1080.

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