This is pretty cool: When Calorie information for sugar sweetened beverages (soda) is displayed in convenience stores, kids aged 12-18 years buy less of them.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health tracked buying behaviors of adolescents in low-income areas. They put up one of three different posters in corner stores. The posters were randomly chosen out of these three options:
(1) Absolute caloric count. Ex: This soda has 300 Calories
(2) Percentage of total recommended daily intake. Ex: This drink has 12% of your daily Calorie need
(3) Physical activity equivalent. Ex: This one said they’d need to run for 50 minutes to burn off the Calories in the drink
The researchers found that sales of sugar-sweetened beverages dropped by 40% with any of the three posters.
The best-performing poster was the physical activity equivalent poster – it reduced drink purchases by 50%.
Food and Drug Administration officials are publishing regulations for restaurants to put Calorie information next to food items on the menu. This study shows that providing ANY information is better than providing none, when it comes to making healthier choices.
Here’s my reference (do I get bonus points that it was released 2 days ago?):
Sara N. Bleich, Bradley J. Herring, Desmond D. Flagg, and Tiffany L. Gary-Webb (2011). Reduction in Purchases of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Among Low-Income Black Adolescents After Exposure to Caloric Information. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.
And, as usual, here’s a link to the abstract: Posters Reduce Pop Sales