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Food labels in the print media : a content analysis

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Allen, Amy M. (main author), Freimuth, Vicki (author)
Conference paper
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois Box: 97
Subject Term:
content analysis, journals, newsletters, newspapers, nutrition information, nutrition labeling, publications
James F. Evans Collection, Ham, Mimeographed, 1994. 1 p. Presented at the Society for Nutrition Education, Portland, OR, July 16-20, 1994., A content analysis was conducted to evaluate the coverage of the new food labels in the print media during the period of December 1, 1992 to August 30, 1993. Articles were obtained using the Lexis/Nexis newspaper index and six health and general topics magazine databases. A total of 59 newspaper articles, 11 magazine articles and 7 health newsletter articles were identified through the databases. These articles were evaluated by four trained coders using a pretested coding form that addressed 35 aspects of the food label coverage. Twenty percent of articles were double coded with at least 80% coder reliability. Analysis of the data indicates that magazines and health letters covered the topic in more detail than newspapers. Less than 20% of newspapers named and defined the "percent daily value" term, whereas 86% of health newsletters and 64% of magazines provided this information. This is significant because the term is not self explanatory and may be misunderstood by consumers. analysis of individuals quoted in the articles indicates that government and industry officials represented over half of those quoted. In contrast, college and university faculty were quoted in 9% of articles and dietitians were quoted in 10% of articles. Several errors were identified by the coders and are outlined in the study.