Suggested explanations for the (in)effectiveness of nutrition information interventions among adults with a low socioeconomic status: A scoping review

Tim Van Meurs*, Joost Oude Groeniger, Willem De Koster, Jeroen Van Der Waal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Unhealthy diets are a major threat to population health and are especially prevalent among those with a low socioeconomic status (SES). Health promotion initiatives often rely on nutrition information interventions (NIIs), but are usually less effective among adults with a low SES than in their high-SES counterparts. Explanations for this lower effectiveness are set out in extant studies. These have been conducted across a wide range of disciplines and subject fields and using a variety of methodological approaches. We have therefore conducted a scoping review to identify and synthesise the following: (1) explanations suggested in studies carried out in high-income countries for why NIIs are (in)effective among adults with a low SES and (2) whether these suggested explanations were studied empirically. Eight databases were searched for relevant studies published since 2009 across various disciplines. This identified 4951 papers, 27 of which were included in our review after screening. Only fifteen of these proposed an explanation for the (in)effectiveness of NIIs among adults with a low SES. The following four main themes were uncovered: health literacy, economic resources, social resources and convenience. Ten studies tested their explanations empirically, but the results were inconsistent. The reasons why NIIs are (in)effective among low-SES adults are therefore still largely unclear. Also, current literature predominantly relies on individualistic explanations, most notably focusing on psychological and economic attributes. Consequently, if the effectiveness of NIIs among low-SES populations is to be improved, future studies should examine a wider range of explanations and test them systematically and empirically.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.


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