About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Health Warning Labels Deter Parents From Buying Sugar-Sweetened Beverages for Kids

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on January 15, 2016 at 7:10 AM
Font : A-A+

 Health Warning Labels Deter Parents From Buying Sugar-Sweetened Beverages for Kids

Research shows that sugar-sweetened beverages including soft drinks and juices marketed for children contain as many as seven teaspoons of sugar per 6.5 ounces - nearly twice the recommended daily serving of sugar for that age group. Health warning labels similar to those found on tobacco products may have a powerful effect on whether parents purchase sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) for their children, suggested a new study led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.


The study is the first of its kind to examine the influence of SSB warning labels. Results show that regardless of a parent's level of education, they may be significantly less likely to purchase an SSB when a label warning that consuming beverages with added sugar may contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay is present, compared to a label that only bears the calorie count of the beverage, or no label at all. Additional results suggest health warning labels improve parents' understanding of the health dangers associated with over consumption of such beverages. The results, which come just one week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued new eating guidelines recommending added sugar be limited to 10% or less of daily calories, are published online in Pediatrics.

Lead author Christina Roberto, an assistant professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at Penn Medicine, said, "In light of the childhood obesity epidemic and studies suggesting that more than half of children under the age of 11 drink SSBs on a daily basis, there is a growing concern about the health effects associated with consumption of these beverages. Some states have introduced bills requiring SSBs to display health warning labels, but to date, there is little data to suggest how labels might influence purchasing habits, or which labels may be the most impactful."

In the first study to examine the influence of sugar-sweetened beverage warning labels, researchers conducted an online survey of 2,381 parents with at least one child between six and 11 years old. Participants had diverse backgrounds, and many identified as racial and ethnic minorities - groups which have the highest obesity rates in the United States. After being divided into one of six groups - the control group, which saw no warning label on beverages, the 'calorie label' group which only saw a label displaying the beverage's calorie count, and four 'warning label' groups, which saw one of four variations of content warning about possible negative health effects - participants were asked to choose a beverage to purchase for their child.

Results showed that while the specific text of the health warning labels did not affect a parent's purchase choice, the presence of the label was significant. Overall, 40% of parents in the groups exposed to health warning labels said they would choose an SSB for their kids, compared to 60% of participants who saw no labels on the beverages, and 53% of parents who saw the calorie labels.

Roberto said, "Regardless of the specific wording, results show that adding health warning labels to SSBs may be an important and impactful way to educate parents about the potential health risks associated with regular consumption of these beverages, and encourage them to make fewer of these purchases." The findings are in line with similar studies conducted on the effects of warning labels on tobacco products, which have been shown to increase consumer knowledge of health risks related to tobacco use, and encourage smoking cessation.

The study also evaluated consumer support for sugar-sweetened beverage warning labels and found that nearly 75% of participants would support adding them to the containers. The authors hope the results will encourage future research focused on determining how these labels influence beverage choice for a variety of consumers, and dietary choices beyond SSBs.

Roberto said, "We can now say that warning labels have the potential to educate parents and motivate behavior change when it comes to purchasing SSBs, which could help gain support for bills requiring labels to be added to beverage containers, but there are also many unanswered questions that require further study. For example, it would be interesting to see if people who choose not to purchase a sugary beverage that contains a warning label end up compensating for those calories by purchasing other high-sugar foods that are unlabeled."

Source: Newswise

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Get Involved and Stand Up for Human Rights on Human Rights Day 2022
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
Macronutrients Calculator for Weight Loss
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Height and Weight-Kids Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts Diabetes Type 2 and Its Link to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Health Insurance - India 

Most Popular on Medindia

Indian Medical Journals Selfie Addiction Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India Vent Forte (Theophylline) Drug Side Effects Calculator Iron Intake Calculator Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Blood Pressure Calculator The Essence of Yoga How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Health Warning Labels Deter Parents From Buying Sugar-Sweetened Beverages for Kids Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests