Food label use and awareness of nutritional information and recommendations among persons with chronic disease

John E. Lewis, Kristopher L. Arheart, William G. LeBlanc, Lora E. Fleming, David J. Lee, Evelyn P. Davila, Alberto J. Cabán-Martinez, Noella A. Dietz, Kathryn E. McCollister, Frank C. Bandiera, John D. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: Because of the relation between chronic disease and poor nutritional habits, the use of food labels and adherence to dietary recommendations are important for chronic disease populations. We explored whether persons with chronic disease read nutrient information on food labels and whether they were aware of dietary guidelines. Objective: This study aimed to assess dietary information use among persons with chronic disease by using a nationally representative sample of the US population. Design: A total of 5603 respondents aged ≥17 y from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participated in the study. This representative sample of US civilians were asked 17 questions regarding their awareness of federal nutrition information and their food label use and were given two 24-h recall dietary interviews. Participants were classified into 5 disease categories: 1) hypertension, 2) hypercholesterolemia, 3) diabetes/at risk of diabetes, 4) overweight, and 5) heart disease. Results: Subjects with chronic diseases were more aware of nutritional recommendations, checked more often for specific nutrients, and used nutrition information on food labels more often than did participants without such diseases. Label use behavior was inconsistently associated with dietary guideline compliance. Conclusions: People with chronic disease generally reported better nutrition awareness and food label use and checking behaviors compared with those without chronic disease, but this did not translate into unequivocally better eating behaviors. New strategies are needed to improve the actual nutritional behaviors of persons with chronic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1351-1357
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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