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Introduction: Nutrition labeling is a graphic tool to notify consumers about the nutritional properties of a food, which facilitates their selection. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of nutritional labeling and socioeconomic, cultural, demographic, and advertising factors on food selection in a group of parents of children between 5-11 years old in two public and private educational units in Quito.
Methods: With a mixed, quantitative-transversal and qualitative interpretative design, a sample of opinions of 240 parents in the Educational Units (UE) Nueva Aurora (Fiscal) and 235 parents in the UE Julio María Matovelle (Private) of Quito was analyzed. Three focus groups were carried out, recorded and transcribed textually, and a questionnaire was administered. The statistical package used was SPSS v24.0.
Results: There was a higher consumption of processed foods in the private EU n = 79/240 (32.9%). Selection for easy preparation (39.2% Private EU and 46.4% Public EU). 54.2% and 57% of parents see advertising on television. Knowledge of labeling was higher in the private EU (94.9%; n = 223). Association between age [OR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.08-5.04] instruction [OR: 3.95; 95% CI: 2.12-7.37], exposure to advertising [OR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.36-1.05] and knowledge (P <0.05). Attitude was associated with educational level [OR: 2.57; 95% CI: 1.62-4.09] and admissions (P <0.05). Qualitative analysis: high degree of knowledge and publicity, with a significant impact on food selection.
Conclusions: Knowledge about nutritional labeling was high, but it was not the main factor in selecting food. Prep time and flavor were more important than nutritional specifications.
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