Many of us have seen the images of lungs displayed on a pack of smokes. Well, we all know that sugary drinks are bad for us, but often don’t think twice before reaching for a can of pop. That said, would you think twice about purchasing a sugary beverage if you saw pictures of a decaying, charred foot or an unhealthy heart? No? Maybe if it was a purchase for your child?
PLOS Medicine recently published a rather interesting study to test just how likely people would be to make a purchase if a soda showed a “warning” image on the can. Scientists from Harvard and the University of North Carolina put that theory to the test by asking parents to choose snack products for their children after making minor label alterations. Some of the group explored a selected shop plastered with warning pictures about heart disease, diabetes, and increased danger from consuming too much sugar, while another group viewed simply a barcode.
The Reasoning Behind The Study
According to those conducting the study, pictorial warnings on sugary beverages for children or purchasing in realistic situations have not yet been studied. Children in the US eat and drink more than the recommended amounts of sugary beverages, increasing their risk of a range of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Also, in the past, Sugary drink warning labels with text alone have been shown in tests to limit consumption.
What Do You Think The Result Was?
Turns out, parents who viewed the warning pictures purchased less sugary drinks for their youngsters than the group that didn’t. Obviously, the photographs proved to be helpful and they’re obviously a bit unsettling.
According to the study: “Pictorial warnings reduced parents’ purchases of sugary drinks for their children. Warnings on sugary drinks are a promising policy approach to reduce sugary drink purchasing in the US. Implementation of pictorial warning label policies could be an effective strategy for reducing sugary drink purchases and sugary drink-related health outcomes. Future studies should evaluate the long-term effects of warning labels on children’s sugary drink consumption and prevalence of the diet-related chronic disease.”
So, What’s The Hold-Up?
Well, according to Vox, The government subsidizes sugary foods. It does not subsidize tobacco products, so it makes sense why warning images are displayed on cigarette packets and not on soda cans.
Putting up signs against sugary beverages in supermarkets could help kids at a time when they need it most, but our government’s policies that make it difficult to buy nutritious meals must be addressed first.
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