Nutrition Label Accuracy and the Theory of Triadic Influence: The Impact of Knowledge on Healthy Food Choices in a Predominantly Hispanic Sample

Mosi Ijumaa Staudt Dane'el, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Unhealthy food choices and the outcomes of those choices are a significant concern in the United States. Multiple governmental agencies recommend using nutrition labels to promote healthier food choices. This study investigated this claim using the theory of triadic influence to examine the efficacious use of nutrition labels on food choices. The theory of triadic influence presents a model of variables that affect food choice, including knowledge pathways on which this study focuses. Within the model, we expected increased scores on two measures of health knowledge to predict nutrition label understanding, which predict healthy food attitudes. Next, we expected that healthier attitudes would predict healthy eating intention, which we anticipated would increase the likelihood of participants to select a healthier food option when participants were presented with two nutrition bars. The study tested the theory using a path model to predict a hypothetical food choice with 612 primarily Hispanic students at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2017. The hypotheses were partially supported. First, we found statistically significant results for both health literacy (β = 0.47; SE = 0.04) and nutrition knowledge (β = 0.12; SE = 0.04) predicting label understanding. Second, we found statistically significant results for healthy attitudes predicting healthy intention (β = 0.31; SE = 0.03). However, we did not find support for the relationship between healthy intention and hypothetical food choice. These findings provide partial support for the theory of triadic influence. We recommend future studies continue to examine the knowledge pathway of the theory of triadic influence, such as using culturally relevant variables related to health knowledge and asking about respondents’ frequency of using nutrition labels.^

Subject Area

Health sciences|Psychology|Health education

Recommended Citation

Dane'el, Mosi Ijumaa Staudt, "Nutrition Label Accuracy and the Theory of Triadic Influence: The Impact of Knowledge on Healthy Food Choices in a Predominantly Hispanic Sample" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10929673.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10929673

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