Do food labels help parents decide which foods to buy?

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October 30, 2014
Dad shopping for food in grocery store

“Nutrition Facts” labels, required to be clearly displayed on most packaged foods sold in the United States, are a familiar sight for many American consumers. But in June of 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed key changes to these labels in an effort to help people make healthier food choices.

We wanted to know how much parents use food labels when shopping – and how moms and dads might use the information on nutrition labels differently. In the latest NPCH Report, 4 out of 10 moms say they “very often” or “always” read nutrition labels when buying food. Among dads, 35% say they “very often” or “always” read nutrition labels. However, 16% of dads said they never read nutrition labels, compared to 10% of moms.

We also asked moms and dads to rate the importance of several nutrients in foods and drinks as they display on nutrition labels. Sugars topped the list of nutrients parents consider, but mothers are more likely than fathers to say total sugar, added sugar, protein, and dietary fiber are “very important.” Read the full report - Nutrition Facts: How moms and dads view labels differently.

Infographics: Proportion of fathers and mothers that rate information on food labels as "very important"
View full size image | See other health infographics

Susan J. Woolford, M.D., M.P.H. – NPCH faculty collaborator and medical director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital—discusses these results in this short video:

What do you think?:

Do you use nutrition labels when grocery shopping? What nutritional information matters most to you? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!


Submitted by NTI Data Rachelle on

A study published in "Food Policy" in June 2010 found that nutrition labels do affect people's food choices. When you are deciding between two different foods, you can look at the nutrition labels to determine which food is more nutritious. Parents can be more cautious when it comes to food because of the food label.

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