Source: SOUTHERN UNIV submitted to
NUTRITION LABEL USE, NUTRITIONAL KNOWLEDGE, AND FOOD SECURITY IN LOUISIANA
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0189265
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
LAX-20191
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2001
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2006
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Meyinsse, P.
Recipient Organization
SOUTHERN UNIV
(N/A)
BATON ROUGE,LA 70813
Performing Department
AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
Non Technical Summary
The proposal's primary goal is to empirically examine the effects of the Nutrition Labeling and Education and Welfare Reform Acts on label use, nutritional knowledge, and food security in Louisiana.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
7036299301070%
7036010301030%
Goals / Objectives
The project's goal is to examine the effectiveness of two national policies on buying and eating habits, and food security in Louisiana. The specific objectives are as follows: (1) to examine primary food shoppers or meal preparers' nutritional knowledge, awareness of, and attitudes toward diet and health; (2) to determine the level of label use in food shopping and meal preparation decisions; (3) to analyze the extent and severity of food insecurity; and (4) to assess the role of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics on knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and food insecurity (objectives 1-3).
Project Methods
A stratified random sample will be use to collect information from about 1,500 telephone subscribers in Louisiana. The goal is to find out the levels of label use, nutritional knowledge, and food security in the state. The data will be analyzed by chi-square contingency tests and by qualitative response modeling techniques.

Progress 10/01/01 to 09/30/06

Outputs
The effectiveness of the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform) on label use, nutritional knowledge and awareness, and food security in Louisiana was examined. Specific objectives were to: examine primary food shoppers or meal preparers' nutritional knowledge, awareness of, and attitudes toward diet and health; determine the level of label use in food shopping and meal preparation decisions; analyze the extent and severity of food insecurity; and assess the role of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics on knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and food insecurity. A stratified random telephone survey of Louisiana households targeted primary grocery shoppers or meal preparers and contained 1,300 respondents. For nutritional knowledge & awareness, respondents were asked if they knew of any health problems caused from being overweight or obese and from excessive or insufficient consumption of selected nutrients, and if so, to identify the health problems. Most respondents had heard about various health problems caused by diet; 89 percent correctly identified problems caused from being over weight or obese; 85 percent identified problems caused from eating too much salt or sodium; but, 56 percent could not identify health problems that could result from consuming insufficient fiber. College graduates and respondents 45 years old were more likely to have heard about the health problems caused by being overweight or obese, from consuming too much salt or sodium, cholesterol, fats, and sugars, and from consuming insufficient amounts of calcium and fiber. For attitudes toward diet & health, 88 percent said diet could make a big difference in a person's chances of getting a disease such as heart disease or cancer. Two-thirds agreed that there were so many recommendations about healthy ways to eat that it was hard to know what to believe; 75 percent used labels when making food purchasing decisions; 73 percent got nutritional information from newspapers, magazines, or books, and 69 percent from doctors, nurses, and health professionals. Label users were more likely to have household incomes above $50,000; nonusers were more likely to have household incomes below $15,000; 56 percent of the label users wanted to learn more about interpreting information on food labels. For Food sufficiency, respondents were asked to describe food consumption in their households for the last 12 months. Emphasis was on whether households (a) had enough of the kinds of food they needed to eat; (b) had enough food, but not always the kinds of food they needed to eat; (c) sometimes did not have enough to eat; or (d) often did not have enough to eat. Respondents on c & d were also asked for information on their strategies to overcome food insufficiency. Sixty-nine percent said they had enough of the food they needed to eat; 26 percent had enough food, but not the preferred foods; four percent did not have enough food. Households with insufficient food were more likely to have residents ages 18-34, women, non-Caucasians, incomes below $25,000, single parents, with high-school education or less.

Impacts
One benefit of a healthier population is lower healthcare cost. Given that the State of Louisiana spent $1.4 billion between 1998 and 2000 on medical expenses related to adult obesity, any cost savings in this area could help fund worthy projects, particularly education. The study started in 2002, eight years after the introduction of Nutrition Facts panels on processed foods, and six years after the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. Between 1991 and 2004, the state's adult obesity rate grew from 16 to 27 percent, and the percentage of overweight or obese residents rose from 49 to 63 percent. The largest increases occurred within the 18-24-age group. The project's results have been distributed to students/youth since they are within the 18-24-age group, to extension agents for further distribution to Louisiana residents - adults and youth, and to colleagues through presentations at seminars, professional meetings, and research publications. Reports from schools and extension agents indicate that information on the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act, and on how to read and use food labels are being incorporated into course syllabi. There is a strong probability that some of the students will begin to use the Nutritional Facts panels when making food purchasing decisions. Additionally, college students who were exposed to this research and the findings developed greater awareness of the health problems facing the country, and learned how to conduct scientific research. The latter will be a tremendous asset as the students pursue masters and doctoral degrees.

Publications

  • McLean-Meyinsse, P. E. and D. Jones. 2004. Nutritional Information Sources, Label Use, and Attitudes Toward Food Labels. Diet and Health Issues. Research Report Number1, February 2004.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Feasting with Fiber. Research Report Number 3, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, June 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. The Low Down on High Cholesterol. Research Report Number 4, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, June 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Slow Down, Danger Ahead High Sodium. Research Report Number 5, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, June 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Bone-Up on Calcium. Research Report Number 6, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, July 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Can Louisiana Residents Identify Health Problems Related to Overweight and Obesity? Research Report Number 7, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, July 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. How Sweet Is Your Tooth? Research Report Number 8, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, July 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Chew on These Fat Facts. Research Report Number 9, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, August 2005.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P. E. and D. Jones. 2004. The ABCs for Good Health: How Do Louisiana Consumers Rank Selected Recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?. The 2004 Conference of the Food Distribution Research Society, Morro Bay, California, October 10-13, 2004.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P. E. and Nicholas A. Larks. Measuring Consumers Awareness of the Major Health Problems Caused by Excessive Sodium Consumption. Journal of Food Distribution Research. 37, 1 (March 2006):108-112.
  • Marcus A. Coleman. Factors Influencing Louisiana Consumers Awareness of Diet and Health-Related Issues. Honors Thesis. Southern University Honors College and Agricultural Economics Program Area. May 2006.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. Nutritional Information Sources, Label Use, and Attitudes Toward Food Labels. Research Report Number 1, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, February 2004.
  • McLean-Meyinsse, P.E., D. Jones, and C. Ferrygood. How Do Louisiana Consumers Rank the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? Research Report Number 2, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, July 2004.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
The project goal is to examine the effectiveness of the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform) on label use, nutritional knowledge and awareness, and food security in Louisiana. To that end, a stratified random telephone survey of primary grocery shoppers and meal preparers was conducted in Louisiana in Fall 2002. The survey contained 1,300 respondents. Respondents were asked if they had heard about any health problems caused by following specific recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines. The percentages who said yes were as follows: eating too little fiber (54 percent); too much fat (77 percent); too much salt or sodium (84 percent); not enough calcium (77 percent); too much cholesterol (79 percent); too much sugar (78 percent); and from being overweight or obese (41 percent). The most frequently mentioned health problems for fiber, fat, salt, calcium, cholesterol, sugar, and overweight or obesity were colon problems (68 percent) hypertension (65 percent), osteoporosis (86 percent), heart problems (67 percent), diabetes (78 percent), and heart problems (88 percent) respectively.

Impacts
The main beneficiaries of the project have been majors in agricultural economics. Two undergraduate students worked on the project in the summer, and one is now using a subset of the data for his senior thesis. The students indicated that by working on the project, they had broadened their awareness about diet and health, and this had caused them to increase their usage of the Nutrition Facts panels to make better food choices. Additionally, by conducting the literature searches, they now had a greater appreciation for scientific investigation and the economic challenges the United States will continue to face as the costs for treating diet-related illnesses continue to rise. Given their increased awareness, the students volunteered to distribute copies of the research reports to family members. Additionally, published research highlights are being disseminated to clients who are predominatly low income and socially disadvantaged. The extension personnel of the SU Ag Center are utilizing the highlights in their workshops.

Publications

  • Measuring Consumers Awareness of the Major Health Problems Caused from Excessive Sodium Consumption. Forthcoming. Journal of Food Distribution Research, March 2006.
  • Feasting with Fiber. Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 3, May 2005.
  • The Low Down on High Cholesterol. Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 4, May 2005.
  • Slow Down, Danger Ahead High Sodium. Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 5, June 2005.
  • Bone-Up on Calcium. Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 6, June 2005.
  • Can Louisiana Residents Identify Health Problems Related to Overweight and Obesity? Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 7, June 2005.
  • How Sweet Is Your Tooth? Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 8, June 2005.
  • Chew on These Fat Facts. Diet and Health Issues, Report Number 9, July 2005.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
The project goal is to examine the effectiveness of the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform) on label use, nutritional knowledge and awareness, and food security in Louisiana. To that end, a stratified random telephone survey of primary grocery shoppers and meal preparers was conducted in Louisiana in Fall 2002. The survey contained 1,300 respondents. Analyses of the data on nutritional label use reveal the following. Seventy-five percent of the respondents indicated that they used food labels when making purchasing decisions. Seventy-three percent of the respondents reported that they got nutritional information from newspapers, magazines, or books, while 69 percent got nutritional information from doctors, nurses, and health professionals. Households with incomes above $50,000 were more likely to use labels; those with household incomes below $15,000 were less likely to use labels, and more likely to get nutritional information from healthcare professionals. Despite the high label usage, 56 percent of the respondents indicated that they wanted to learn more about how to interpret the information on food labels. Of this total, 72 percent were non-Caucasians, 71 percent had household incomes between $15,000 and $24,999, and 70 percent lived in single-parent households.

Impacts
Based on available statistics, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Louisianas obesity rate was estimated to be 22.3 percent in 2001, ranking the state 7th in the country. Given that 56 percent of surveyed respondents wanted to learn more about how to use food labels, steps must to be taken to educate them how to do so. If consumers use the Nutritional Facts panels to make healthier food choices, then the state could reap tremendous benefits. One of the benefits of a healthier population is lower healthcare cost. Given that the state spent $1.4 billion between 1998 and 2000 on medical expenses related to adult obesity, any cost savings in this area could go to fund other worthy projects, particularly education.

Publications

  • (1) Nutritional Information Sources, Label Use, and Attitudes Toward Food Labels. Research Report Number 1. Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, February 2004.
  • (2) How Do Louisiana Consumers Rank the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? Research Report Number 2. Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, July 2004.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
The project's goal is to examine the effectiveness of the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act and the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform) on label use, nutritional knowledge and awareness, and food security in Louisiana.To that end, a stratified random telephone survey of primary grocery shoppers and meal preparers was conducted in Louisiana in Fall 2002. The survey contained 1,300 respondents. Analyses of the data on nutritional knowledge awareness reveal the following. Thirty-six percent of the respondents felt their diet was excellent or very good; one-fourth assessed their diet as fair (18 percent), or poor (5 percent). These assessments were strongly correlated with income levels. High and middle-income households were more likely to rank their diets as excellent or very good, while low-income households were more likely to regard their diets as unhealthy. In a similar vein, 90 percent of high-income households and 89 percent of middle-income households agreed that diet can make a big difference in a person's chances of getting a disease, such as heart disease or cancer. Conversely, a large percentage of low-income residents agreed that choosing a healthy diet was a matter of knowing what foods were good for you and what foods were bad for you 86 percent. Fifty percent of these respondents also felt that the foods they were eating were already healthy; therefore, there was no need to change their diet. Additionally, 41 percent of low-income respondents agreed with the statement that some people were born to be fat and some were born to be thin. Consequently, there was nothing they could do about their genetic composition.

Impacts
The analyzed data suggest that greater efforts are needed to educate low-income residents in Louisiana about diet, nutrition, and health. These nutritional intervention strategies must be implemented soon because the percentage of overweight and obese children and adults have reached epidemic proportions both at the state and national levels.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
A stratified random telephone survey was conducted in Louisiana between September 27 and October 10, 2002. It had 1,300 respondents. Three hundred of the sampled households fell below the 2002 Federal Poverty Guidelines. Socioeconomic data were collected on respondents' age, household composition and size, educational levels, household income, ethnic origin, and gender. The survey also generated information on levels of nutritional knowledge and awareness, attitudes toward diet and health, and levels of food insecurity in the state. From the survey, about half of the respondents were less than 45 years of age; thirty-two percent were married without children; forty-three percent had not attended college; seventy-five percent had household incomes below $50,000; seventy-four percent were Caucasians, and 73 percent were women. We are now in the process of conducting more detailed statistical analyses on the data to determine how strong the links are between the respondents' socioeconomic characteristics and their responses on the nutritional and food security issues.

Impacts
By analyzing the data, we will be able to determine levels of nutritional knowledge and food insecurity, and awareness of the links between diet and health among the sampled respondents. The results will help us to plan intervention strategies to address these important societal issues.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period