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To describe the relationship between adherence to distinct dietary patterns and nutrition literacy.
We identified distinct dietary patterns using principal covariates regression (PCovR) and principal components analysis (PCA) from the Diet History Questionnaire II. Nutrition literacy was assessed using the Nutrition Literacy Assessment Instrument (NLit). Cross-sectional relationships between dietary pattern adherence and global and domain-specific NLit scores were tested by multiple linear regression. Mean differences in diet pattern adherence among three predefined nutrition literacy performance categories were tested by ANOVA.
Metropolitan Kansas City, USA.
Adults (n 386) with at least one of four diet-related diseases.
Three diet patterns of interest were derived: a PCovR prudent pattern and PCA-derived Western and Mediterranean patterns. After controlling for age, sex, BMI, race, household income, education level and diabetes status, PCovR prudent pattern adherence positively related to global NLit score (P < 0·001, β = 0·36), indicating more intake of prudent diet foods with improved nutrition literacy. Validating the PCovR findings, PCA Western pattern adherence inversely related to global NLit (P = 0·003, β = −0·13) while PCA Mediterranean pattern positively related to global NLit (P = 0·02, β = 0·12). Using predefined cut points, those with poor nutrition literacy consumed more foods associated with the Western diet (fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, processed foods) while those with good nutrition literacy consumed more foods associated with prudent and Mediterranean diets (vegetables, olive oil, nuts).
Nutrition literacy predicted adherence to healthy/unhealthy diet patterns. These findings warrant future research to determine if improving nutrition literacy effectively improves eating patterns.