Less than half (43%) of American kids ages 8-15 report that they read the nutritional fact labels on food according to KidSay’s 2013 Year-End Trend Tracker. But with new, more visible nutritional facts, Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, hopes, “to help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country. The proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes.”
When it comes to differences regarding reading nutritional facts, it’s gender that has the biggest influence. Almost half of America’s girls read nutritional facts (49%) while only 37% of boys do. That’s a significant difference, certainly more than the virtually equal frequency that tweens (ages 8-11 – 42 %) and teens (ages 12-15 – 43%) report they read nutritional facts.
For those that do read nutritional facts, every subgroup of American kids, tweens and teens, boys and girls, say the #1 most important nutritional fact they read is ‘calories’ (35%). The FDA’s newly proposed labels are sure to increase their focus on calories. But it’s not just calories that drive kids to read nutritional labels. For boys, the #2 most important nutritional fact regards protein (16%), the #2 for girls is ‘sugar content’ (14%), followed closely by ‘fat content’ (13%). 12% of boys also want to know that fact, also making it their #3 most important nutritional fact.
Teach Your Parents Well
Perhaps it’s because they read more nutritional facts that makes girls (49%) more likely than boys (38%) to teach their parents something about healthy eating. Of the American kids who do share what they know with their parents, 63% teach their parents which foods are healthy and which aren’t. The next most common thing they teach is about the different food groups (28%).