The potential for nutrition labels to impact on population health is dependent on consumer ability to understand and use this information. Consumer understanding of this information varies across sociodemographic groups and with different label design formats. Labeling legislation requires consumer education on how to use nutrition labels, and recent mandatory changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) are underway to improve comprehensibility. This review aimed to evaluate if educational programs can improve understanding and use of nutrition labels. Database searches were performed to identify interventions which delivered education on nutrition labels with outcomes measuring aspects of comprehension or use. A total of 17 studies were selected for review, including nine randomized and eight cohort studies. The majority of studies were conducted in the United States Study participants included school aged children, older adults, and those with diabetes within a range of intervention types involving taught sessions or web-based education. Whilst outcome measures were heterogenous, all studies reported a statistically significant improvement in one or more outcomes of participant understanding or use of nutrition labels. Aspects such as general nutrition knowledge, health literacy, and program delivery format warrant attention in future research. Education which optimizes comprehension and use of nutrition labels may have the potential to improve the impact of this information on dietary health.
- food labels
- nutrition labels
- nutrition education
- nutrition knowledge
- nutrition facts label utilization
- nutrition facts label comprehension
- health literacy