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To test modifications to nutrition label serving size information on understanding of energy (calorie) content among youth and young adults.
Participants completed two online experiments. First, participants were randomly assigned to view a beverage nutrition label with a reference amount of per serving (250 ml), per container (473 ml) or a dual-column format with both reference amounts. Participants were then randomized to view a cracker nutrition label which specified a single serving in small font, a single serving in large font, or the number of servings per bag with single serving information below. In both experiments, participants estimated energy content. Logistic regression analysis modelled correct energy estimation. Finally, participants reported their preference for serving size display format.
Canadian youth and young adults (n 2008; aged 16–24 years).
In experiment 1, participants randomized to view the nutrition label with per container or dual column were more likely to correctly identify energy content than those using per serving information (P<0·01). For experiment 2, the serving size display format had no association with correct energy estimation. The majority of participants (61·9 %) preferred the serving size format that included servings per package.
Labelling foods with nutrition information using a serving size reference amount for the entire container increased understanding of energy content. Consumers prefer nutrition labels that include more prominently featured serving size information. Additional modifications that further improve consumers’ accuracy should be examined. These results have direct implications for nutrition labelling policy.
Food prepared and consumed away from home accounts for a significant proportion of dietary intake among Canadians. Currently, Canadians receive little or no nutrition information when eating in restaurant and fast-food outlets. The present study examined the impact of nutrition information on menus in hospital cafeterias on noticing and perceived influence of nutrition information and on food consumption.
Exit surveys (n 1003) were conducted in two hospital cafeterias. The ‘intervention’ site featured energy (calorie), sodium and fat content on digital menu boards, as well as a health logo for ‘healthier’ items. The intervention site had also revised its menu items to improve the nutrient profiles. The ‘control’ site provided limited nutrition information at the point of sale.
Cafeteria patrons recruited using the intercept technique.
Significantly more respondents at the intervention site reported noticing nutrition information (OR = 7·6, P < 0·001) and using nutrition information to select their food items (OR = 3·3, P < 0·001) compared with patrons at the control site, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Patrons at the intervention site consumed significantly less energy (−21 %, P < 0·001), sodium (−23 %, P < 0·001), saturated fat (−33 %, P < 0·001) and total fat (−37 %, P < 0·001) than patrons at the control site.
A nutritional programme, including nutrition information on menus and improved nutrition profile of food offerings, was associated with substantial reductions in energy, sodium and fat consumption. The results are consistent with a positive impact of menu labelling.
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