Predictors of nutrition information comprehension in adulthood

Lisa M.Soederberg Miller, Tanja N. Gibson, Elizabeth A. Applegate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of the present study was to examine relationships among several predictors of nutrition comprehension. We were particularly interested in exploring whether nutrition knowledge or motivation moderated the effects of attention on comprehension across a wide age range of adults. Methods: Ninety-three participants, ages 18-80, completed measures of nutrition knowledge and motivation and then read nutrition information (from which attention allocation was derived) and answered comprehension questions. Results: In general, predictor variables were highly intercorrelated. However, knowledge, but not motivation, had direct effects on comprehension accuracy. In contrast, motivation influenced attention, which in turn influenced accuracy. Results also showed that comprehension accuracy decreased-and knowledge increased-with age. When knowledge was statistically controlled, age declines in comprehension increased. Conclusion: Knowledge is an important predictor of nutrition information comprehension and its role increases in later life. Motivation is also important; however, its effects on comprehension differ from knowledge. Practice implications: Health educators and clinicians should consider cognitive skills such as knowledge as well as motivation and age of patients when deciding how to best convey health information. The increased role of knowledge among older adults suggests that lifelong educational efforts may have important payoffs in later life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010


  • Aging
  • Comprehension
  • Health information
  • Health literacy
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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