• Journal Article

Potential health benefits of nutrition label changes


Zarkin, G., Dean, N., Mauskopf, J., & Williams, R. (1993). Potential health benefits of nutrition label changes. American Journal of Public Health, 83(5), 717-724.


OBJECTIVES. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 mandates the Food and Drug Administration to promulgate changes in nutrition labeling regulations. This study investigates the potential health benefits associated with expected changes in food consumption resulting from the act. METHODS. This paper provides four estimates of the potential health benefits from the dietary changes expected to occur as a result of the 1990 act. The upper bound estimates begin with the premise that all consumers will adopt the daily reference values of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The lower bound estimate is based on consumers' responses to a shelf-labeling program sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1980s. A computer model developed by Dr. Warren Browner and his associates was used to estimate the health benefits from reduced nutrient intakes. RESULTS. Estimates of the number of discounted life-years gained nationwide for the first 20 years after the implementation of the act range from a high of 1.2 million to a low of 40,000. CONCLUSIONS. The results of the study highlight that relatively small changes in nutrient intakes may generate large public health benefits