Health warning labels on sugary drinks could alter consumer choices according to a new research published on Thursday in the Pediatrics journal. Sugary drinks have been linked in a cohort of studies to a swath of health conditions, including tooth decay or a spike in diabetes and obesity risk.
The large offering on the market coupled with buzzing marketing campaigns make it hard to resist sugary drinks in any form they may come. Sports drinks or the classic fizzy drinks, club soda and others contain various amounts of sugar or sweeteners the consumption of which inevitably leads to one health condition or another.
There is a growing debate on how to curb sugary drinks consumption and increase awareness of the associated risks. Particularly with children, sugary drinks consumption might become a real public health issue. Children see it, they wanted it, parents are often compelled to buy it. A community of public health advocates and professionals recommend that strict regulations and taxes much like those applied to tobacco and alcohol products are also applied to sugary drinks.
This constraint might make everyone more aware of the health toll and hinder sugary drinks consumption. Another idea which is receiving increasingly more attention is that of warning labels. Health warning labels on sugary drinks could alter consumer choices.
Baltimore, New York and California state are keen on affixing warning labels to sugary drinks. However, no concrete measure has been discussed yet. The latest research published in the Pediatrics journal might aid policy makers in taking decisions on the matter.
The research comprised an online survey conducted with the aid of 2,400 parents. They were asked to pick one beverage specifically for their child. The offering was of six sugary drinks. One sugary drink had no label on it whatsoever. A second sugary drink had a calorie label. Four of the sugary drinks had warning labels affixed, displaying different texts.
A roundup of the choices the parents made suggests that health warning labels on sugary drinks could alter consumer choices. 60 percent of the participants in the survey chose the beverage without the label. 53 percent of the participants chose the beverage with had a calorie count label affixed to it. Most importantly, only 40 percent of the participants chose a sugary drink with a warning label reminding of the associated health risks.
Christina Roberto who worked on the study and is an assistant professor of medical ethics with the University of Pennsylvania declared that it was surprising to see warning labels work as efficiently as they did in deterring parents from buying sugary drinks. While the results of the study are promising, the authors believe more research needs to be conducted to fully understand how warning labels affect consumer choices when it comes to sugary drinks.
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