Development of a knowledge survey and food composition database regarding trans-fatty acids



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A food composition database was compiled in order to determine foods which still had a significant amount of trans-fats post January 2006. Approximately 3,188 national brand name foods were included in the database, and 17% were found to contain trans-fatty acids after the implementation of the labeling law. However, the ingredients section of the food label was not checked for the presence of partially hydrogenated oil. Trans-fat values were calculated according to grams per 100 grams of food product which allowed for comparison of all foods regardless of varying serving sizes. This information will aid consumers across the United States in buying food products with the lowest amount of trans-fat possible.

A trans-fat survey was developed and pilot tested post January 2006 to determine what the public knew about trans-fats after changes in the food labeling laws were implemented. The project was designed to create a valid and reliable instrument for measuring a variety of parameters related to trans-fat, such as knowledge, attitude, belief, behavior, and self efficacy in faculty members, students, and staff of Texas Tech University. This population, although not directly representative of the nation as a whole, would provide insight to the country’s current trans-fat knowledge levels. The survey was initially developed with 54 items, but the final measure only had 41 items. The results from this pilot test justify the use of this tool to measure knowledge because it has the ability to discriminate between groups of varying knowledge levels. Knowing the current knowledge level of a population is vital as the enforcement of new regulations regarding trans-fats take effect. If the public is uneducated in regards to trans-fat then they will not have the tools required to make smart food choices.



Survey development, Trans-fatty acid, Trans-fat