Consumer interest by Oregon State University students in nutrition information on food labels Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/000002967

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  • This exploratory study examined the degree of involvement of Oregon State University students in nutrition information. Specific objectives were to: (1) determine the relationship between, a) use of nutrition information, b) interest in nutrient information, c) satisfaction with the amount of information required by law, d) kinds of foods to be labeled, and e) advocacy of nutrition information (overall involvement), with each of 18 independent variables (students' characteristics); (2) determine the comparative importance of specific nutrition information items on food labels; (3) calculate an importance rank order for all nutrients; and (4) determine sources of nutrition information which students use and prefer. Four-hundred-forty Oregon State University students completed a 27 question survey, conducted during February 1986. The statistical techniques used varied depending upon the type of variables being analyzed. Six null hyoptheses with sub-parts were tested at the p. < .05 level of significance. Age, gender, class rank, college major, major classified as hard or social science, participation in nutrition classes, health problems, special diets and intake of vitamins and minerals are significantly related to student involvement in nutrition information. The majority of students reported using nutrition label information. They rated some of the nutrients which are not mandated in the current labeling law (sugar, cholesterol, saturated fats, sodium, fiber and starch) higher in importance than other nutrients which are required. Almost 60 percent of the students wanted more information than is currently given on the labels and approximately 88 percent of the students wanted more foods labeled than are presently required by law. Price and health (i.e. care labeling, open date, nutrition information, and ingredient list) were rated more important than other information provided on food labels. Preferred sources of nutrition information were different in importance compared to current information sources. Nutrition educators, policy makers, food producers and retailers need to understand the nutrition information needs and desires of students as future consumers. These findings could contribute to the development of effective nutrition information labels for food products. Replication of the research with additional audiences would contribute to a broader understanding of consumer demands for nutrition and food label information and lead to better nutrition education programs.
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