Preventing Childhood Obesity in School-Aged Children: Relationships between Reading Nutrition Labels and Healthy Dietary Behaviors

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Bogers, Kimberly S
childhood obesity; nutrition labels; secondary data analysis; school-aged children; Spearman rho correlations; Nutrition; Pediatric Nursing
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Childhood obesity is a prevalent problem in the United States. Obesity increases the risk for many diseases. Obese children are likely to become obese adults with additional comorbidities. Studies have reported mixed findings regarding associations between reading nutrition labels and improved dietary behaviors/healthy weight status. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the frequency of children reading nutrition labels is related to frequency of performing 12 dietary behaviors. De-identified baseline data from a previous quasiexperimental pilot study were analyzed. Data were collected from 4th and 5th graders (n = 42) at an after-school program. An adapted paper survey was administered to the children to measure the number of days (0–7) they read nutrition labels and performed 12 dietary behaviors over the preceding week. Due to non-normal distribution of data, non-parametric Spearman rho correlations were conducted to determine relationships between frequency of reading nutrition labels and dietary behaviors. Positive correlations were found between frequency of reading nutrition labels and eating fruit for breakfast; eating vegetables at lunch/dinner; eating whole grain/multigrain bread (p < .05); eating fruit for a snack; eating vegetables for a snack (p < .01). Frequency of reading nutrition labels was inversely related to drinking soda/sugar-sweetened beverages (p < .05). Significant relationships were found between frequency of reading nutrition labels and several dietary behaviors associated with childhood obesity prevention. Findings are promising and support the need for further intervention research to determine potential direct influences of children reading nutrition labels on dietary behaviors.