Use of the nutrition facts label in chronic disease management: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Apr;110(4):628-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.12.015.


Dietary modifications are common treatment strategies for patients with various chronic diseases, but it is unclear how often these individuals read food labels. The objective of this study was to determine whether patients with chronic disease who are advised to change their eating habits read nutrition labels more than patients who have not been so advised, and whether that impacts their energy and nutrient intake. Analysis of the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of the United States population, was performed. Adults (20 years of age or older) who participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and who had type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia were included for analysis. There were 3,748 unweighted participants, which represents 170,958,166 in the US population. Proportions of patients with chronic disease who read nutrition labels were compared by chi(2) analysis, mean values of various components of their diet were compared by the two-sample independent t test, and odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined by logistic regression. Among patients with chronic disease, the odds of reading food labels when told by their doctor or another health professional to reduce calories or weight was 50% higher than in those without physician intervention (odds ratio=1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.12 to 2.00). Those who read food labels consumed less energy, saturated fat, carbohydrates, and sugar, and more fiber than those who did not. These findings point to the value of dietary counseling in chronic disease management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Female
  • Food Labeling*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / diet therapy
  • Hyperlipidemias / psychology
  • Hypertension / diet therapy
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • United States
  • Young Adult