Nutrition knowledge, food label use, and food intake patterns among Latinas with and without type 2 diabetes

Nurgül Fitzgerald, Grace Damio, Sofia Segura-Pérez, Rafael Pérez-Escamilla
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008, 108 (6): 960-7

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations of nutrition knowledge, food label use, and food intake patterns among Latinas with and without diagnosed diabetes.

DESIGN: This was a case-control study.

SUBJECTS/SETTING: A convenience sample of 201 (100 cases with diagnosed type 2 diabetes, 101 controls without diagnosed diabetes) nonpregnant, nonbreastfeeding Latinas without severe health conditions, aged 35 to 60 years were interviewed by bicultural interviewers. Diverse community-based recruitment methods were used.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Independent samples t test, Mann-Whitney U, and chi(2) tests, and multivariate logistic regression were performed.

RESULTS: Food labels self-efficacy and stage of change, and average nutrition knowledge scores were similar between cases and controls (P>0.05). Within the diabetes group, nutrition knowledge was greater among those who had seen a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator (P=0.020). Cases reported consuming artificially sweetened desserts and beverages more frequently than controls (P<0.001). Pooled sample cross-sectional analyses showed that nutrition knowledge was positively related to food label use, which in turn was related to a more healthful food intake pattern (P<0.05). After adjusting for likely confounders, socioeconomic status (SES) was positively related to nutrition knowledge (P=0.001) and intakes of fruits, vegetables, and meats (P<or=0.01). SES was not related to food label use independently of nutrition knowledge. Acculturation was positively related to soft drink and salty snack intakes (P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to improve nutrition knowledge and skills for both groups, especially for those with low SES. Culturally appropriate interventions should emphasize the healthful nutritional behaviors from one's primary culture for effective retention of such traits.

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