Sat, Dec 10, 2016 | updated 08:30 AM IST

Teens less likely to choose health warning labelled sugary drinks

Updated: Sep 09, 2016 15:45 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept. 9 (ANI): According to a new study, teenagers are more than 15 percent less likely to say they would purchase soft

drinks and other sugary drinks that include health warning labels.

The study is among the first to examine how warning labels on sugary drinks influence teens, which can contribute to obesity, diabetes and

tooth decay.

The study has significant implications for policies being considered in several states and cities to require sugary drinks to display health warning labels.

Lead author Christina Roberto said, "The average teen in the United States consumes at least one sugar-sweetened beverage every day, which

could account for more than twice the recommended daily serving of sugar."

Adding, "The rate of sugar consumption in the U.S. is astounding and contributes significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other dangerous and costly health conditions."

In the study, researchers used an online survey to gauge the beverage selections of more than 2,000 participants aged 12-18 and from diverse

backgrounds.

The beverages included either no label at all, or one of five warning labels, one featuring calorie content, and four displaying a variation of warning text.

Overall, 77 percent of participants who saw no label said they would select a sugary drink in a hypothetical choice task.

Warning labels indicated that consumption of sugary drinks contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, with slight variations in

wording - such as emphasizing that these conditions are "preventable diseases" or clarifying that consuming sugary drinks contributes to

"type 2 diabetes."

Depending on the specific phrasing of the warning labels, participants were 8 to 16 percent less likely to select sugary beverages when

health warning labels were present compared to no label.

The authors note that the warning labels also contributed to teenagers' understanding of the potentially negative effects on health

of regularly consuming sugary beverages, with participants viewing the labels indicating they were more likely to understand that these

drinks don't contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, the majority of participants (62 percent) said they would support a warning label policy for sugary drinks.

Co-author Eric M. VanEpps said,"The influence of warning labels on the purchasing intentions of teenagers in this study highlights the need

for nutrition information at the point of purchase to help people make healthier choices."

Adding, "This study shows that warning labels can affect teenagers' beverage preferences, and future research will be needed to determine

whether these labels are similarly effective in more typical purchasing environments."

The new study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. (ANI)