Relationships among food label use, motivation, and dietary quality

Lisa M. Soederberg Miller, Diana L. Cassady, Elizabeth A. Applegate, Laurel A. Beckett, Machelle D. Wilson, Tanja N. Gibson, Kathleen Ellwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Nutrition information on packaged foods supplies information that aids consumers in meeting the recommendations put forth in the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans such as reducing intake of solid fats and added sugars. It is important to understand how food label use is related to dietary intake. However, prior work is based only on self-reported use of food labels, making it unclear if subjective assessments are biased toward motivational influences. We assessed food label use using both self-reported and objective measures, the stage of change, and dietary quality in a sample of 392 stratified by income. Self-reported food label use was assessed using a questionnaire. Objective use was assessed using a mock shopping task in which participants viewed food labels and decided which foods to purchase. Eye movements were monitored to assess attention to nutrition information on the food labels. Individuals paid attention to nutrition information when selecting foods to buy. Self-reported and objective measures of label use showed some overlap with each other (r = 0.29, p < 0.001), and both predicted dietary quality (p < 0.001 for both). The stage of change diminished the predictive power of subjective (p < 0.09), but not objective (p < 0.01), food label use. These data show both self-reported and objective measures of food label use are positively associated with dietary quality. However, self-reported measures appear to capture a greater motivational component of food label use than do more objective measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1080
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2015


  • Attention relationships among food label use
  • Dietary quality
  • Food choice
  • Motivation
  • Motivation
  • Nutrition labels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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