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Am J Prev Med. 2019 Feb;56(2):300-314. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.09.024. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

A Meta-Analysis of Food Labeling Effects on Consumer Diet Behaviors and Industry Practices.

Author information

1
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
3
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
4
Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit and Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
5
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia.
6
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota.
7
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts; School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
8
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.
9
MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
10
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: dariush.mozaffarian@tufts.edu.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The influence of food and beverage labeling (food labeling) on consumer behaviors, industry responses, and health outcomes is not well established.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines were followed. Ten databases were searched in 2014 for studies published after 1990 evaluating food labeling and consumer purchases/orders, intakes, metabolic risk factors, and industry responses. Data extractions were performed independently and in duplicate. Studies were pooled using inverse-variance random effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was explored with I2, stratified analyses, and meta-regression; and publication bias was assessed with funnel plots, Begg's tests, and Egger's tests. Analyses were completed in 2017.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS:

From 6,232 articles, a total of 60 studies were identified, including 2 million observations across 111 intervention arms in 11 countries. Food labeling decreased consumer intakes of energy by 6.6% (95% CI= -8.8%, -4.4%, n=31), total fat by 10.6% (95% CI= -17.7%, -3.5%, n=13), and other unhealthy dietary options by 13.0% (95% CI= -25.7%, -0.2%, n=16), while increasing vegetable consumption by 13.5% (95% CI=2.4%, 24.6%, n=5). Evaluating industry responses, labeling decreased product contents of sodium by 8.9% (95% CI= -17.3%, -0.6%, n=4) and artificial trans fat by 64.3% (95% CI= -91.1%, -37.5%, n=3). No significant heterogeneity was identified by label placement or type, duration, labeled product, region, population, voluntary or legislative approaches, combined intervention components, study design, or quality. Evidence for publication bias was not identified.

CONCLUSIONS:

From reviewing 60 intervention studies, food labeling reduces consumer dietary intake of selected nutrients and influences industry practices to reduce product contents of sodium and artificial trans fat.

PMID:
30573335
PMCID:
PMC6340779
[Available on 2020-02-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2018.09.024

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