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Nutrition Label Numeracy: Disparities and Association with Health Behaviors

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Objective: We investigated the relative importance of nutrition label numeracy and sociodemographic characteristics in predicting health behaviors. Methods: Secondary data analysis of data collected from the National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, cycle 3, 2013). Weighted age-adjusted ordinal logistical regression was used to evaluate sociodemographic characteristics among individuals with different nutrition label numeracy levels. Dominance analysis was conducted to rank nutrition label numeracy and sociodemographic characteristics in order of importance as predictors of health behavior. Results: Lower levels of nutrition label numeracy were associated with older age, black and Hispanic race/ethnicity, unemployment, being born outside of the United States, lower English proficiency, lower education achievement, lower income, and living in the South. Nutrition label numeracy and income were the most important predictors of health behaviors, accounting for about 50% of the variance in fruit consumption and level of effort, frustration, concern, and confusion experienced while seeking health information. Conclusions: Nutrition label numeracy differed significantly among sociodemographic groups and was a strong predictor of health behaviors. When developing health interventions targeting dietary behaviors, disparities in nutrition label numeracy comprehension should be considered.
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Keywords: DIET; DISPARITY; HEALTH INFORMATION SEEKING; NUTRITION LABEL NUMERACY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Texas Cancer Registry, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, TX, USA. [email protected] 2: Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2016

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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