Could low nutrition literacy be to blame for unhealthy choices?

It’s easy to assume that someone not complying with dietary recommendations is doing so by choice. The underlying reason, however, may not be quite so simple: low nutrition literacy may be to blame. Those with a low level of nutrition literacy lack the skills required to access, understand and act upon nutrition information, which impacts their health decisions and behaviours. Increasing awareness amongst health and nutrition professionals and addressing low nutrition literacy through tailored communications could help to reduce inequalities in health, as well as the impact of lifestyle diseases.[1]Carbone ET, Gibbs HD. Measuring Nutrition Literacy: Problems and Potential Solutions. Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy. 2012;3(e105) It’s not just about reading and writing Nutrition literacy is an aspect of the broader concept of health literacy and determines a person’s ability to access, process and understand nutrition information in order to make nutrition decisions. Like health literacy, nutrition literacy is assessed at three levels: functional, which involves applying basic literacy skills for example to read and understand a food label; interactive, involving application of cognitive and interpersonal communication skills to interact with nutrition advisors or to search for and use nutrition information; and critical, the ability to critically analyse nutrition …

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