Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 9, P876-887, October 2018

Nutrition Label Use and Its Association With Dietary Quality Among Latinos: The Roles of Poverty and Acculturation



      To investigate how acculturation and poverty are independently and jointly associated with the use of the Nutrition Facts panel (nutrition label) and to examine the extent to which nutrition label use moderates the association of poverty and acculturation on dietary quality among Latinos.


      Cross-sectional analysis of the 2007/2008 and 2009/2010 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.


      A total of 3,696 adults (aged >19 years) self-identified as Latino/Hispanic with food label use data from the most recent Consumer Behavior Phone Follow-Up Modules.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Nutrition label use and dietary quality.


      Logistic regression.


      Acculturation moderated the association of income on the likelihood of using nutrition labels, such that lower-income English-speaking Latinos were half as likely as higher-income English-speakers to use nutrition labels (P = .01, odds ratio [OR] = 0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24–0.81); however, Spanish speakers were equally likely to use nutrition labels across income levels (P = .99; OR = 1.00; 95% CI, 0.77–1.31). Nutrition label use moderated the association of acculturation on diet. Among English-speaking Latinos, those who read nutrition labels had less than half the risk for poor diet (P =.001; OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.26–0.69); however, label use was not significantly associated with the diet quality of Spanish speakers (P = .07; OR = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67–1.02). Nutrition label use decreased the risk for poor dietary quality regardless of poverty status.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Overall, results demonstrated a positive association between the use of the Nutrition Facts panel for Latinos and dietary quality. An important nutrition education strategy among bicultural Latinos at risk for a poor diet as a result of acculturation may include label reading comprehension. This approach may also address the low rates of label use. The study provides evidence of segmented assimilation in which low-income, bicultural Latinos follow an underclass pattern of acculturation demonstrated by a lower likelihood of reading nutrition labels and higher-income, bicultural Latinos follow the more successful selective pattern.

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