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Are You a Food Label Reader? More Moms Than Dads Are

January 12, 2015

Mothers are more likely than fathers to read nutrition labels when considering food and drink purchases, according to the latest C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Results from the poll showed that 40 percent of mothers say they read the nutrition labels either "very often" or "always." Just 35 percent of fathers say they read the labels "very often" or "always."

Sugars (total sugar and added sugar) topped the list of "very important" nutrients that parents consider overall.

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The "Nutrition Facts" labels are required for most foods sold in the United States. For the first time in two decades, in 2014 the Food and Drug Administration has proposed key changes to the labels to feature clearer information about calories, fat, and sugar.

"The hope is that changes in the labels can make them easier to read and understand, and that will help consumers make healthier choices," said Susan J. Woolford, a faculty collaborator for the poll.

In the poll, 1,481 parents also were asked about using the labels when comparing two similar foods or drinks to buy. Forty-six percent of mothers vs. 33 percent of fathers said information from the nutrition label "very often" or "always" influences their decisions. More fathers (16 percent) than mothers (10 percent) indicated they never read nutrition labels.

Woolford says she was surprised how many parents - particularly fathers - don't use the labels.

"The results of this poll indicate an opportunity for further research into how we can improve the nutrition facts labels so they might be something that parents - both mothers and fathers -use and so that they provide information in a manner that promotes healthy food choices," Woolford said.



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