It wasn’t until 1990, when the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) passed that consumers had a consistent nutrition label they could reference. The label quickly became a vital part of our purchasing power — it showed sodium, fat and sugar content along with calories another other important nutritional information. And it helped consumers make smart decisions regarding their diets.

But a new study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Medical School reveals that only about 1 of 3 young adults use the label.

Certain segments of the young demographic were more likely to read the Nutrition Facts than others. Among those at the top were women with higher education and income. People who regularly prepare food, and those who are physically active or are classified as being overweight are also at the tip. People who were trying to lose, gain or maintain weight were also more likely to use the labels.

“Young adults who did read Nutrition Facts had better dietary patterns, including eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” Mary Christoph, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study, said in a news release.

The researchers wanted to understand how young people read and use the labels to better support them in making informed dietary decisions.

The study is released at a time when adding nutrition facts to restaurant menus is being debated.

The study was published in the Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietics and surveyed about 2,000 adults aged 25 to 36, primarily in the Minneapoli-St. Paul area.

(h/t Supermarket News)

Also see, Study shows salad can keep your brain young.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.