• Use and Understanding of Nutrition Labeling among Elderly Men and Women in Malaysia

    Mal J Nutr 19(3): 353 – 362, 2013

    Use and Understanding of Nutrition Labeling among Elderly Men and Women in Malaysia 
    Cheong SM1*, Jasvindar Kaurl, Lim KH1, Ho BK2 & Mohmad 53
    1 Institute for Public Health, National Institutes of Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Jalan Bangsar, 50590 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    2 Kiang Health Department, Bandar Botanik, Plan Langat Kelang, 42100 Kiang, Selangor, Malaysia
    3 Family Health Development, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Block E10, Complex E, 62590, Putrajaya Malaysia


    Introduction: Consumers are advised to read the nutrition labeling when purchasing packaged food. To what extent consumers read nutrition labeling and understand what they read is not well established among Malaysian older persons. Methods: Data from the National Health and Morbidity Survey III (NHMS III) undertaken in 2006 was analysed to determine the use and understanding of nutrition labeling and its associated factors among free living elderly men and women aged >60 years. Descriptive analysis and binary Logistic Regression were used to analyse the data. Results: A total of 4,898 respondents provided self-reported information on their use and understanding of nutrition labeling when they bought or received food. Use of nutrition labeling was higher among elderly men [61.9% (95% CI: 59.6-64.1)] than for women [36.6% (95% CI: 34.5-38.8)]. Nutrition labeling use was significantly associated with age, formal education, higher household income levels and marital status among both elderly men and women. Understanding of nutrition labeling among elderly men and women was 91.8% (95% CI: 90.1-93.2) and 89.7% (95% CI: 87.4- 91.7) respectively and was significantly associated with formal education for both elderly men and women. Conclusion: Overall, the reading of nutrition labeling among Malaysian elderly is moderate. Elderly men and women with formal education were more likely to understand nutrition labeling. The importance of reading nutrition labels should be inculcated in consumers including older persons so that they choose foods that are nutritious and safe. 

    Keywords: Nutrition information, nutrition labeling, older adults, socio�demography

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