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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 211-214

Use of information on pre-packaged foods among residents of an urban village of South Delhi, India

Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi 110029, India

Correspondence Address:
Meenakshi Bhilwar
Department of Community Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi 110029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-258X.258219

Background. With rapid urbanization and hectic lifestyle, there is a growing demand of pre-packaged food items. ‘Food label’, present on most packaged food items provides information about the contents, their nutritive value and other information that can help the consumer to make an informed choice. Few studies in India have assessed the consumer’s knowledge and practices related to information on a food label. Methods. We assessed the awareness, perceptions and practices related to the use of information on food labels among residents of an urbanized village of south Delhi. House-to-house visits were made and information gathered using a pre-designed, pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire. Descriptive analysis was done and logistic regression performed to document the determinants of ‘reading food label’ by the study participants. Results. A total of 368 individuals were interviewed. The mean (SD) age of the participants was 29.1 (9.7) years. Around one-fourth (97/368; 26.4%) of all participants reported buying pre-packaged foods daily. A majority (222/ 368; 60%) of participants bought pre-packaged foods because they liked the taste, and also because they were easily available (153/368; 41.7%). A total of 64.1% (236/368) reported that they read food labels, but a majority checked only for the manufacture and expiry dates (203/236; 86%). Educational status, socioeconomic status and body mass index of the study participants were found to be significantly associated with reading of labels. Conclusions. The intention of promoting healthy food choices through the use of food labels is met inadequately at present. Awareness generation activities would be required to improve this behaviour.

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