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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317390

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Diet quality of items advertised in supermarket sales circulars compared to diets of the US population, as assessed by the Healthy Eating Index-2010

Author
item Jahns, Lisa
item Scheett, Angela - University Of North Dakota
item Johnson, Luann - University Of North Dakota
item Krebs-smith, Susan - National Cancer Institute (NCI, NIH)
item Payne, Collin - New Mexico State University
item Whigham, Leah - The Paso Del Norte Institute For Healthy Living
item Hoverson, Bonita - University Of North Dakota
item Kranz, Sibylle - University Of Bristol

Submitted to: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/17/2015
Publication Date: 1/4/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/62188
Citation: Jahns, L.A., Scheett, A.J., Johnson, L.K., Krebs-Smith, S.M., Payne, C.R., Whigham, L.D., Hoverson, B.S., Kranz, S. 2016. Diet quality of items advertised in supermarket sales circulars compared to diets of the US population, as assessed by the Healthy Eating Index-2010. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 116(1):115-122.e1.

Interpretive Summary: Supermarkets use sales circulars to advertise certain foods, usually at reduced prices. Sales circulars influence people’s grocery purchases and affect what foods are available in the home, therefore therefore sales circulars may affect what individuals and families choose to eat. We conducted this study to determine how closely foods featured in weekly supermarket sales circulars conform to the diet quality recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to compare them to the diet quality of the U.S. population's intakes. Nine thousand one-hundred and forty-two food and beverage items from 52 (one years’ worth) of sales circulars from a small Midwestern grocery chain in 2009 were coded to obtain food group, nutrient and energy content. Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) total and component scores were calculated. The total score ranges from 0-100. HEI-2010 scores for the US population ages 2+ were estimated using data from the National Health and Nutrition, What We Eat In America national survey. HEI-2010 scores of circulars and population intakes were compared. The average total score of the circulars was 42 out of 100. The score was lower than that of the US population (55). Among individual components, Total Protein Foods was the only one for which 100% of the maximum score was met by both circulars and the population. The scores were also similar between the circulars and population for Whole Grains (22%) and Seafood and Plant Proteins (70-74%). Circular scores were lower than those of the population for Total and Whole Fruits, Total Vegetables and Greens and Beans, Dairy, Sodium, and Empty Calories; they were higher only for Fatty Acids and Refined Grains. HEI-2010 total scores for these sales circulars were even lower than US population scores, which have been shown repeatedly to reflect low diet quality. Given that supermarket circulars influence consumer purchases, the healthfulness of featured items should be a concern. Supermarkets could support improvements in individuals’ diets by weekly featuring foods that are more in concordance with food and nutrient recommendations such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, and nuts and oils and decrease those for refined grains, sodium-rich and empty calorie foods.

Technical Abstract: Background: Supermarkets use sales circulars to highlight specific foods, usually at reduced prices. Resulting purchases help form the set of available foods within households from which individuals and families make choices about what to eat. Objective: The purposes of this study were to determine how closely foods featured in weekly supermarket sales circulars conform to dietary guidance and how diet quality compares to that of the U.S. population's intakes. Materials and Methods: Food and beverage items (n = 9,149) in 52 weekly sales circulars from a small Midwestern grocery chain in 2009 were coded to obtain food group, nutrient and energy content. Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) total and component scores were calculated. HEI-2010 scores for the US population ages 2+ were estimated using data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. HEI-2010 scores of circulars and population intakes were compared. Results: Average total (42.8/100) scores of circulars were lower than that of the US population (55.4). Among individual components, Total Protein Foods was the only one for which 100% of the maximum score was met by both circulars and the population. The scores were also similar between the circulars and population for Whole Grains (22%) and Seafood and Plant Proteins (70-74%). Circular scores were lower than those of the population for Total and Whole Fruits, Total Vegetables and Greens and Beans, Dairy, Sodium, and Empty Calories; they were higher only for Fatty Acids and Refined Grains. Conclusions: HEI-2010 total scores for these sales circulars were even lower than US population scores, which have been shown repeatedly to reflect low diet quality. Given that supermarket circulars influence consumer purchases, the healthfulness of featured items should be a concern. Supermarkets could support improvements in consumer diets by weekly featuring foods that are more in concordance with food and nutrient recommendations.