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J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Feb;111(2):295-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.049.

Awareness of Federal Dietary Guidance in persons aged 16 years and older: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.

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Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Two Rockledge Centre, Suite10018, 6701 Rockledge Drive MSC 7936, Bethesda, MD 20892-7936, USA.


The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 included questions on awareness of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), the Food Guide Pyramid, and the 5 A Day for Better Health Program. Prevalence of awareness of federal dietary guidance was estimated and differences were tested across demographic traits, health characteristics, and diet-related attitudes and behavior. The continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey uses a nationally representative cross-sectional sample design. The analytic sample consisted of 5,499 persons aged 16 years and older with complete data. Among persons aged 16 years and older, 83.8% had heard of at least one of the initiatives: 49.2% had heard of the DGA, 80.6% had heard of the Food Guide Pyramid, and 51.2% had heard of the 5 A Day program. There was a linear trend of decreasing awareness of at least one of the guidance efforts with increasing age. Differences by sex, race/ethnicity, education, and income were also observed. Differences by body mass index were not statistically significant; however, significant differences were seen with fatalistic beliefs about body weight. Differences by smoking, self-assessed diet quality, and eating out frequency were not statistically significant after adjustment for sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, and income. These results may be useful in promotion of the upcoming edition of the DGA and to suggest population groups that may benefit from strengthened and more innovative education efforts at the public health program level and at the clinic level.

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