Food Label Literacy and Use among US Adults Diagnosed with Cancer: Results from a National Representative Study
Amuta-Jimenez, Ann Oyare
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For those diagnosed with cancer, lifestyle factors including diet can be more important than ever. However, lack of nutrition-related knowledge can pose a significant barrier to healthy eating. Food labels guide consumers in selecting appropriate portion sizes—that is, caloric content—and ensuring adequate intake of nutrients. Data from the 2013-2014 HINTS were used to examine (a) differences in food label use and food label literacy between respondents ever had a cancer diagnosis and those never had a diagnosis; (b) sociodemographic correlates and health-related correlates of food label use and literacy, in a context of cancer diagnosis; and (c) potential association between food label use/literacy and each of two dietary choices, eating vegetables and fruits and limiting intake of sugary drinks, again, in a context of cancer diagnosis. Data was analyzed via SPSS version 24.0, and cross tabulations using Pearson's Chi-square test and logistic regressions. Income, gender and non-participation in support groups were associated with food label literacy (p<.05). Confidence to take care of self was associated with food label use (p<.05). Relationships were observed between using food labels and curtailing soda intake (b = -.368, p<.05), eating relatively more fruits (b = .558, p<.05), and eating relatively more vegetables (b = .558, p<.05). The overall models predicting consumption of soda [x2 (2) = 13.70, p = .001, Nagelkerke R-square = .059], of fruits [x2 (2) = 33.87, p < .001, Nagelkerke R-square = .136], and of vegetables [x2 (2) = 36.08, p < .001, Nagelkerke R-square = .144] was statistically significant. Implications for research and practice can be found in results linking food label use to better quality diets. They include the usefulness of nutrition education interventions targeting lower-income men with cancer diagnoses; one lesson should be the use of food labels. **This article was published with the assistance of the Texas Woman's University Libraries Open Access Fund.