Warnings with soda shown to change habits
Displaying warning signs with sugary drinks appears to encourage people to make healthier decisions about the beverages they consume, according to new research.
Over six weeks, scientists at John Hopkins University displayed four different signs in various shops around Baltimore. MD. Two provided examples of the types and amounts of exercise required to burn off the calories contained in sugary drinks; the other signs simply listed the drinks' calories and sugar content. Throughout the study, the researchers interviewed customers who were between the ages of 12 and 18.
The researchers found that out of all the children who saw and read the signs, about 59 percent said they believed the signs' content, and about 40 percent said the warnings affected their behavior. The researchers also found that sugary drink sales fell, and the percentage of teenagers who chose to buy no drink in the shops increased from 27 to 33 percent. The results remained consistent for several weeks after the signs were removed.
The study's findings suggest that easy-to-understand signs may be an effective way to encourage healthier choices among consumers, especially if soft drink manufacturers don't plan to reduce the drinks' sugar content, researchers said. They added that such warning signs as those used in the study may help promote weight loss and fight against obesity.