To read or not to read: food labels and nutrition involvement
ABSTRACT: Together with the increase in obesity, the popularity of healthier foods with lower calorie and fat density have also increased. This has been coined ‘the (American) obesity paradox’. Food intake may be directly influenced by the perception of a food, like its perceived healthiness (Paquette, 2005). The judgement of the healthiness of food is oftentimes based on its nutrient content (Carels, Konrad & Harper, 2006). Even if different labelling strategies are used to identify the nutrition content of a food, and thereby identify if it is a healthy food, consumers seem confused about what healthy eating should be, or how to use the more technical and numerical information (Cowburn & Stockley, 2005). In order to investigate how label use as well as label knowledge (e.g. the ability to do correct calculations with labels) is influenced, the label reading survey has been developed (Rothmans et al., 2006). We are currently conducting a study that aims to investigate the influence nutrition involvement has on the use of labels. Additionally we are planning a study that measures the differences in this model for people of different weight ranges (i.e. anorectic vs. normal weight vs. overweight/obese). Additionally, we are planning an exploratory factor analysis in order to better understand the concept of ‘nutrition involvement’. In this presentation we aim to explain the current stance of the research, and hope to receive feedback on the future studies we have planned.