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Adolescence. 1997 Spring;32(125):181-97.

Food shopping and label use behavior among high school-aged adolescents.

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  • 1Penn State Nutrition Center, University Park 16801-5663, USA.


Ninety adolescents (41 males and 49 females) stratified by shopping experience (44 shoppers and 46 nonshoppers) were given a list of 20 foods to select in a supermarket. An interview was conducted to determine reason(s) given for each food selection, use of nutrition information, and other variables. Reasons most often reported for selecting foods were personal preference/taste, custom/habit, and price/cost. Participants were five times more likely to use front label/nutrition claims than nutrient labels. Fat free/low fat, lite/light, and cholesterol free/low cholesterol were the most commonly used claims whereas total fat and calories were the most commonly used nutrient label constituents. Females were more likely than males to use front label/nutrition claims (F (1,82) = 4.78, p < .01). There were no significant differences between males' and females' use of nutrient labels. Education that emphasizes food-shopping and label-reading skills is needed by adolescents.

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