Factors associated with nutrition label use among female college students applying the theory of planned behavior

  • Lim, Hyun Jeong (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University) ;
  • Kim, Min Ju (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University) ;
  • Kim, Kyung Won (Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul Women's University)
  • Received : 2014.09.22
  • Accepted : 2014.11.03
  • Published : 2015.02.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Use of nutrition labels in food selection is recommended for consumers. The aim of this study is to examine factors, mainly beliefs explaining nutrition label use in female college students based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). SUBJECTS/METHODS: The subjects were female college students from a university in Seoul, Korea. The survey questionnaire was composed of items examining general characteristics, nutrition label use, behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, corresponding motivation to comply, and control beliefs. The subjects (n = 300) responded to the questionnaire by self-report, and data from 275 students were analyzed using t-test or ${\chi}^2$-test. RESULTS: The results showed that 37.8% of subjects were nutrition label users. Three out of 15 behavioral beliefs differed significantly by nutrition label use. Nutrition label users agreed more strongly on the benefits of using nutrition labels including 'comparing and selecting better foods' (P < 0.001), 'selecting healthy foods' (P < 0.05). The negative belief of 'annoying' was stronger in non-users than in users (P < 0.001). Three out of 7 sources (parents, siblings, best friend) were important in nutrition label use. Twelve out of 15 control beliefs differed significantly by nutrition label use. These included beliefs regarding constraints of using nutrition labels (e.g., time, spending money for healthy foods) and lack of nutrition knowledge (P < 0.001). Perceived confidence in understanding and applying the specifics of nutrition labels in food selection was also significantly related to nutrition label use (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study found that the beliefs, especially control beliefs, suggested in the TPB were important in explaining nutrition label use. To promote nutrition label use, nutrition education might focus on increasing perceived control over constraints of using nutrition labels, acquiring skills for checking nutrition labels, as well as the benefits of using nutrition labels and receiving support from significant others for nutrition label use.


Supported by : Seoul Women's University


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