Evidence-Based Reviews: History, Utility, and Application
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Performing evidence-based reviews (EBR) is a growing and important area of research, and more graduate students should be educated in this area. EBRs provide conclusions based on science and follow a specific methodology to decrease bias, consider all pertinent science on the topic, and have transparency. This thesis is two-fold and includes: 1) a faculty course manual on how to facilitate a college course on EBR and 2) an EBR manuscript on the utility of nutrition labeling to affect consumers’ ability to select more nutritious products and whether or not nutrition labeling can affect purchase and consumption of more nutritious products. This EBR is timely in that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for a moratorium on Front-of-Pack labeling (FOP) until two Institute of Medicine Committees have produced their reports and FDA has interpreted those reports. The intention of the manuscript is that it will aid in this interpretation. Of 978 articles collected, 699 were excluded using exclusion/inclusion criteria, 253 were identified as secondary articles, and 26 were used for the EBR. Results: Ten studies answered question #1 on whether or not consumers can pick a more nutritious product by reading labels and 21 answered question #2 on whether consumers actually change their purchasing and/or eating behavior by using labels. Studies ranged from simple cross-sectional studies that used survey data to more complex studies that collected sales data or performed in-store observations. In conclusion, consumers are able to use food labels to pick more nutritious products. Preliminary evidence suggests that a subset of health conscious consumers will read food labels to select a healthier product within a product category. Less evidence exists that reading labels actually results in a change of food intake. More intervention rather than survey studies are required to address this issue. In addition, the next stages of investigation should include looking at the whole diet, rather than just individual foods, and finally what affect the whole diet may have on overall health.
Field, Lindsey 1982- (2011). Evidence-Based Reviews: History, Utility, and Application. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from