Food labels and public health

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Food labels and public health

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Welcome to Public Health Moment from the University of Minnesota. The location and design of nutrition labels on food packages – first introduced 20 years ago -- has come into question based on a new University of Minnesota study that used eye-tracking technology to gauge whether or not consumers read the labels. U of M researcher Dan Graham led the study. <Graham: “Well, we did find out that people in this task did tend to look at the nutrition facts panel, more so if it was in the center of the screen than if it was on the side. And they tended to look more at nutrients nearer the top of the label compared to those closer to the bottom. The highest viewing was for calories and the lowest was for the vitamins and minerals.”> Graham said based on the result, a change in location for the nutrition labels would be beneficial for consumers. <Graham: “Based on this study, which was just using a computer screen, if we could translate that to a package front, for example, it seems that it would be beneficial to have the nutrition label front and center – at the top and the middle of a food package, where people tend to look most frequently. And if we could have the nutrients that are most relevant to public health in a similarly prominent place on the label, that seems like it could draw consumer attention and from there, perhaps we could make the leap to saying that perhaps they would eat more healthfully if they saw it.”>



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Engebretson, Mark; Dan Graham. (2011). Food labels and public health. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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