Prevention (USA)

Taking On Sugar


Plenty of kids love sugary drinks, and they’re a big driver of childhood obesity—which can snowball and lead to the developmen­t of other health issues like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and more. One way to address the problem is to get parents to buy fewer beverages for their kiddos, and researcher­s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill think they may have discovered a tool that could help: adding pictures to labels. A lab was set up to resemble a convenienc­e store, and a diverse group of parents of children ages 2 to 12 were invited to “shop” for a drink, a snack, and a household item. Some shoppers saw sugary drinks with pictorial warnings about type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk on the bottles, and another group saw shelves of sweet drinks with just a barcode and no warning. Pictorial warnings led to a 17% reduction in sugary drink purchases, and a survey revealed that the warnings also made parents feel more in control of healthy eating decisions.

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