Nutrition Label Harder to Read Than Furniture Assembly Directions
November 9, 2011 | 12:00 pm CST

Nutrition Label Harder to Read Than Furniture Assembly DirectionsEmeryville, CA -- CLIF Kid, maker of organic snacks for active kids, revealed today the results of a national survey which found confusion around nutrition labels, appropriate quantities of nutrients and nutrition terminology, causes frustration among parents when it comes to feeding their kids. The survey, which was conducted by Kelton Research and commissioned by CLIF Kid in 2011, targeted 1,009 U.S. parents with children ages 6-12.

“We found that parents have good intentions but may not be giving their kids the right nutrition because they are uncertain about portion sizes and how to read nutrition labels,” said Tara DelloIacono-Thies, registered dietitian for CLIF Kid. “That’s why CLIF Kid makes sure each snack has the right amount of nutrients for kids up to age 12. This means, even though nutrition labels must state the percentage of nutrients for an adult-sized diet, parents can feel secure knowing that the amounts in a CLIF Kid snack are appropriate for kids’ healthy growth.”

Nearly half (42 percent) of parents said reading nutrition labels is more difficult than reading assembly instructions for furniture. Many parents may not be reading the labels at all, as 42 percent don’t know that nutrition labels are based on a 2,000-calorie adult diet, which can represent 53 percent more calories than are recommended for a 6-year-old girl.

When it comes to food quantities, the majority of parents (72 percent) are not aware that the American Dietetic Association’s recommended daily caloric intake changes by gender at age four. In fact, most parents are unsure how much of any particular nutrient their kid should consume. At best, 38 percent think they can guess the appropriate daily intake for a child’s sugar consumption.

The survey also found that words used to describe fundamentals in nutrition often leave parents with a lack of confidence. Almost half (45 percent) of parents don’t know how much food is in a “single serving.”

The term “grams” is another source of confusion. For example, three-quarters of parents surveyed (75 percent) did not know how many calories are in one gram of fat – 20 percent think it is equal to 100 calories or more, when one gram of fat actually has nine calories. Just over half (54 percent) of parents would prefer that nutrition labels be expressed in teaspoons or tablespoons, forms of measurement more familiar to them.

While nearly half (49 percent) of parents said they eat healthier since having kids, only 15 percent would describe their kids as “healthy eaters.” Parents find it particularly challenging to feed their kids healthy snacks. In fact, 75 percent said it’s actually harder to feed their kids healthy snacks than healthy meals.

Overall, almost seven in ten (69 percent) parents say it’s important to feed their kids organic or natural food, and more than a third (37 percent) are making more effort now to do so than three years ago.

Source: Clif Bar & Co.

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