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J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Jul;100(7):804-9.

Use of a supermarket shelf-labeling program to educate a predominately minority community about foods that promote heart health.

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  • 1Preventive Services, Maryland Department of Health and Human Hygiene, Baltimore, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the awareness and use of a supermarket-shelf labeling program designed to encourage shoppers to make food choices that promote heart health.


A shelf-labeling program was implemented in 18 supermarkets serving minority communities in Detroit, Mich. Customers were given an exit survey to determine awareness and use of the program.


Three hundred sixty-one subjects were sampled. Sixty-six percent of the sample was female, 67% African-American, and the sample population had a mean age of 51.6 years +/- 18.5 SD.


Overall awareness of the program was 28.8%. Awareness among minorities was significantly higher when compared with whites (35.3% vs 20.8%; P = .02). Gender, age, and education level were not predictive of program awareness but people screened for cardiovascular disease risk factors (elevated low-density lipoprotein or total cholesterol levels and/or elevated blood pressure) in the previous year had greater awareness than those not screened (32.6% vs 13.6%, P = .06). Use of the program was 56% among subjects aware of the program. This did not differ significantly by gender, age, or ethnicity.


Awareness and use were evaluated with respect to ethnicity, gender, education, race, age, and previous screening history. For purposes of analysis, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American respondents were combined into one group called "all minorities." The other group of respondents was called "whites." Between-group differences in categorical variables were analyzed using a chi 2 statistic.


Awareness of the shelf-labeling program was modest, but highest among African-Americans. Subjects recently screened for cardiovascular disease risk had greater program awareness. This difference was not statistically significant. Use was relatively high among those aware of the program, suggesting that shelf labels have the potential to increase the selection of foods that promote heart health in predominately low-income, minority populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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