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Prev Med. 1986 Jan;15(1):60-73.

Nutrition education at the point of purchase: the foods for health project evaluated.


Foods for Health, a nutrition education and research program sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Giant Food, Inc., was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of cardiovascular nutrition education at the point of purchase, specifically, in the supermarket. To evaluate the program's effectiveness, measures of consumer awareness, knowledge, and food purchases were determined before, during, and after the campaign. The program was conducted in the Washington, D.C., area, with Baltimore, Maryland, area stores serving as controls. At the conclusion of the campaign, Washington shoppers showed a significant increase in knowledge scores, while these scores decreased in the Baltimore area. The gain in correct knowledge scores for Washington shoppers compared with Baltimore shoppers was 9% for food fat and cholesterol content and 11% for the relationship between dietary fat and blood cholesterols levels. The food sales data indicate no apparent differences attributable to the intervention. Issues that might account for the lack of a significant change in food purchases, such as cost and the markets' individual sales promotion campaigns, are discussed, and recommendations for the design of future projects are made.

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