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About 60 percent pay attention to nutrition facts
August 5th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

About 60 percent pay attention to nutrition facts

Who reads nutrition labels?

More than half do, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. About 61.5 percent reported using the nutrition facts panel when deciding to purchase food. Fewer people paid attention to the list of ingredients (51.6 percent), the serving size (47.2 percent), and health claims (43.8 percent).

The findings from Columbia University reported that women with some college education were more likely to use the nutrition labels. Those who used them reported fewer calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugar intake than participants who did not pay attention.

Researchers used information from a 2005-2006 survey in which 5,502 participants answered questions on food label use and completed two 24-hour recalls of what they ate. The study also found that participants with limited English language skills had reduced rates of label use, indicating that language could be a barrier.

Read the abstract

“If food labels are to have greater influence on public health, rates of use will likely need to be increased among US adults,” wrote the study authors.

Some suggestions for changing nutrition labels have been to have calories in bold type to or to issue more intuitive labeling using colors like red, yellow and green on food labels.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.