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Recommendations for an educational programme to improve consumer knowledge of and attitudes towards nutritional information on food labels.
SAJCN. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001 Feb; 14(1):28-35.The needs and objectives of the various groups affected by nutritional labelling illustrate the complex and controversial nature of nutritional labelling and the problems in formulating a simple and easily understood system. Twenty homogeneous white middle-income suburbs were chosen at random from a total of 39 strata. The multistage cluster method of sampling was used to divide each suburb into smaller clusters. One area was chosen at random from each suburb. Twenty homes were then systematically selected to bring the total sample number of respondents to 400. White middle-income women completed a questionnaire analysing consumer attitudes towards and knowledge of nutritional labelling in order to identify the objectives needed for the formulation of an educational programme concerning the nutritional labelling of food containers. The results of the survey suggest that although white middle-income women (N = 388) lacked nutritional labelling knowledge (pass rate < 20%), they had a positive attitude towards nutritional labelling (mean 18.29 ± 4.8). As knowledge scores increased, the following factors became more positive: attitudes towards nutritional labelling (R = 0.2905, P = 0.0000), nutritional education (c2 = 40.9273, P = 0.01), and the use of nutritional labelling in the purchase of food (r = 0.2230, P = 0.0258). The results of this survey suggest a definite need for a nutritional labelling education programme in South Africa. Although the subject group could be considered representative of the top end of the South African market, a comprehensive needs assessment of the relevant target markets that make up South Africa's diverse population should be undertaken for the formulation of a national nutritional education programme. (author's)
Ahfad Journal. 2001 Dec; 18(2):17-29.Few studies have been conducted on food labeling in Saudi Arabia. The objective of this study was to conduct a baseline survey to provide data on nutritional aspects of food labeling in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, consumers' knowledge, attitudes and practices towards food labeling were assessed. One hundred and fifty national food products (constituting 10% of the total products manufactured) were randomly selected. These products were checked for the presence of certain standards of nutritional information on the label. Additionally, 400 consumers were randomly selected at the grocery stores, of whom half were women. Data was collected via interviews using a questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using percentages and chi-square test. Results indicated that all the products had nutrition labels in compliance with the Saudi standards for labels of prepackaged foods. However, labels were generally lacking many of the nutrition information required by other international standards. Consumer's survey indicated ignorance of the importance of information on the label such as nutrition content, serving size, special characteristics, health claims, special usage and health warning. Their importances were filed only by 18, 1, 15, 9, 5 and zero percent successively. This low awareness may result in low ability to make the right and informed decision when buying prepackaged foods. The study recommends provision of nutrition education on nutritional aspects of food labeling among consumers and encouraging food product manufacturers to provide more nutrition information on food labels. It also calls for more in depth research in regard to food labeling. (excerpt)
Journal of Adolescent Health. 2004; 35:399-401.We studied the relationship between reading nutrition labels and percent calorie intake from fat. In adolescent boys, reading nutrition labels was associated with higher fat intake. In girls, fat intake did not differ by frequency of nutrition label reading. Nutrition label reading does not translate into healthier diet in adolescents. (author's)
BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 1998; 76 Suppl 1:9-19.Except for the artemisinin derivatives recently deployed in southeast Asia, resistance has emerged to all antimalarial drugs. The Task Force for Improved Use of Antimalarials was created within the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in 1993, with the purpose of establishing, through research, measures to take to protect the few existing antimalarials in the southeast Asian region. Research was conducted in China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam. The task force characterized the problems in drug compliance in southeast Asia, and developed interventions to improve drug use in the various countries. Interventions involved drug packaging, public information campaigns, and assessments of drug quality. It was found that blister packaging worked best in improving drug compliance and that the increased cost of packaged medication did not limit its use. Poor drug quality is a major problem in unregulated countries which should be improved.
NP NEWS. 1994 Sep-Oct; 2(5):25.20% of unplanned pregnancies in the US result from oral contraceptive users' failure to take their pills on a regular basis. More than 50% of all women who take contraceptives report some side effects. Women who have side effects are more likely to miss pills. Missing pills, however, increases a woman's likelihood of having side effects. Half of all women leave their health care practitioner wanting more information about their contraceptive drug. Of the women who want more information, more than half discontinue their drug regimen. To increase compliance with an oral contraceptive regimen, health care practitioners can talk more extensively to each woman, providing as much information as wanted during the initial consultation, and inviting calls if more information is desired later. Women also need to establish a routine of taking their pills, preferably in the morning. Dr. Michael Rosenberg of the University of North Carolina is currently studying the effect of packaging upon the rate of compliance with an oral contraceptive routine. It is thought that well-designed packages as well as appropriate educational materials can help women to take their pills consistently and correctly. The author calls attention to the Wyeth-Ayerst Triphasil Cycle Pack as a highly compact package which lets a woman see instantly if she has taken her daily pill.
Social Science and Medicine. 1992 May; 34(9):959-64.Insufficient information contributes to failure in markets. Government officials also use it to justify intervention in the health sector in the developing countries. Further, in these countries,health care workers have misused pharmaceuticals considerable as well as make improper diagnoses. Moreover both health practitioners and the general public do not always follow instructions on drug use. A shortage of information on appropriate use may indeed cause these problems. A staff member of the World Bank proposes a methodology to use to balance 2 competing risks. Either public health officials allow drugs to be available to consumers over the counter or they require a prescription from a licensed health professional. The risks include obvious diagnostic errors made my consumers untrained in medicine and patients not receiving needed, potentially life saving, drugs. Since there is a shortage of medical personnel in most developing countries, people face considerable obstacles (e.g., travel time and expense) when it comes time to go to a licensed medical facility. The proposed methodology to evaluate the tradeoff between the 2 risks involves looking at the problems as one of determining the value of a more accurate diagnosis through the intervention of a skilled professional as a specific and costly mechanism for acquiring an accurate diagnosis. The article applies the model to illustrative examples to identify the information to answer the regulatory issue question. Further the model also allows public health policy makers to determine the appropriate level of training needed for medical professionals and to evaluate projects which improve public access to information on the use of drugs.
NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL JOURNAL. 1986 Jun 25; 99(804):468.Although the effectiveness of the cervical smear in detecting precursor lesions of cervical cancer has been demonstrated, such screening is not widely performed in New Zealand. The author of this letter presents a simple proposal involving only a modest expenditure to encourage women to have a regular cervical smear. It is suggested that the message, "To maintain good health have an annual cervical smear (PAP) test," be printed on the plastic blister side of the packaging of oral contraceptives (OCs). Thus, women would be reminded about the importance of this preventive health measure each time they take a pill. This strategy takes advantage of the popularity of OCs in New Zealand; in 1985, 814,800 OC prescriptions were processed. Moreover, OCs are widely used by teenagers and young women, risk groups that need to be made aware of the importance of annual smears. OC manufacturers in New Zealand have been approached with this proposal, but have taken no action.
Advances in Contraceptive Delivery Systems. 1986 Feb; 2(1):84-103.This pamphlet, edited by an ad hoc committee of several consultants, scientists, theologians, public health and family planning directors, and an international attorney, covers the following topics: contra-conception; choices of contraceptives; contraceptive package information; copper IUDs; pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); sexually transmitted diseases; and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It includes a questionnaire for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Professor Joseph Goldzieher describes the "Contra-Conception" database as "a synthesis of up-to-date literature and contemporary guidelines, designed to provide ready access for practicing physicians and medical students." It contains data on several types of hormonal contraception. "Contra-Conceptions" is designed to allow the physician to set his or her own pace when working with the computer, and no previous computer experience is required. 1 of the program's many innovative features is the patient-profiling/decisionmaking section which can be used in the doctor's office to help decide what type of hormonal contraceptive is appropriate for a particular patient. The program permits the doctor to evaluate the significance of patient variables such as parity, smoking, menstrual difficulties and helps the doctor to identify the risks and benefits of the various methods and, ultimately, to make a balanced decision in the context of the most recent data. Contraceptive drugs and devices should include detailed information on the following: description of formula or device; indication, usage, and contraindications, clinical pharmacology and toxicology; dose-related risk; pregnancies per 100 women year; and detailed warning. The sequence of major pathophysiological reactions associated with copper IUDs is identified as are special problems of pelvic infections in users of copper IUDs. Those women who use oral contraceptives (OCs) or a barrier method of contraception or whose partners use a condom have a lower frequency of PID than women not employing any protection. It is well established that copper IUDs cause different types and different degrees of PID. Women using copper IUDs are more at risk for pelvic infection. There is a higher frequency of salpingitis and PID when copper IUDs are employed especially when the population is nulligravidas under the age of 25. The pamphlet lists criteria for the diagnosis of salpingo-oophoritis and actue salpingitis.
Washington Post. 1969 Dec 22; A1, A10.Dr. Herbert L. Ley, Jr., until three weeks ago, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, said yesterday the government must consider action to see that the 8.5 million American women taking birth control pills get "much greater information" on their possible ill effects. This could mean giving women several hundreds of words of information on how the pill may cause blood clots, strokes and skin discoloration, and how they may be involved in liver, thyroid, urinary and vaginal problems; changes in pituitary, ovarian and other hormone functions; eye trouble; depression and suicidal urges. He said: "Speaking as a private citizen and as a concerned physician, I feel a need for greater information for the patient. Also, Ley said, his new feeling "is the crystallization of some thinking for a long period of time" about "the whole category of drugs to prevent something, given to healthy people" compounds like birth control pills, anticholesterol drugs and preventive vaccines, all of which sometimes have undesirable effects". "I think the patient has to be involved and involved very deeply in information on this new category of drugs. I think he needs to be involved in the decision on when to use them". Here, he said, he has been impressed by some arguments in a recent book, "The Doctors' Case Against the Pill" by Barbara Seaman, and its case for a patients' package insert explaining the pill's advantages and disadvantages. An announcement by Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) said that on Jan. 14 his Senate Monopoly Subcommittee will begin hearings to learn whether women "are being adequately informed of the pills' known hazards". "It appears evident," Nelson charges, "that a substantial number are not advised of any of the health hazards or side effects". For his part, Ley said he still stands by the September finding of an FDA advisory committee that the pill is "safe" as defined by law, and that the pills' "significant" benefits outweigh their risks. "That was a highly dependable report", he said yesterday, but "it's dated, as any report is", and "we absolutely have to look now at any new British data. Until I see hard data, however, I'm hard pressed to draw different conclusions. I may wish to revise my opinion as a private physician after I see the British data but not until".(AUTHOR'S MODIFIED)