Reading and interpreting nutritional labels: correlation between schooling and social class

Guilherme Araujo, Amanda Krüger, Silmara Richter, Júlio Sérgio Marchini


Introduction: Healthy nutrition is one of the pillars for the promotion of health and the prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases and therefore it is of fundamental importance to read and interpret the nutritional labels of the foods consumed. The objective of the present study was to assess the reading habits and the ability to interpret the nutritional labels of the population of a large city in the state of Santa Catarina. Methods: An interview consisting of 13 multiple-choice questions and two open questions was held with shoppers at two large supermarkets in Joinville – SC. Results: Ninety-three percent of the interviewees stated that they consider it important to read the nutritional labels, with 71% of them habitually reading them and 49% having avoided to buy a product based on the nutritional information. Those who were best able to interpret the terms were males (p=0.05), individuals with complete higher education (p=0.3), and upper class individuals (p<0.05). We emphasize that most of the interviewees had difficulty in defining the terms “light” and “diet”. Conclusion: The economic and cultural elite has the habit of regularly reading nutritional labels, in addition to being better able to interpret correctly the information contained in them.


nutritional labels, social class, obesity

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