(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that placing health warnings on sugary drinks will reduce the likelihood that parents will buy them for their children.Similar photographs and warnings are applied to cigarette packs
In a new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine , researchers from Harvard and the University of North Carolina tested the effects of warnings and graphic images (like those on cigarette packs) on 326 parents who were asked to buy sodas and fruit juices at a supermarket “mock-up”.
The warning test stated that “excessive consumption of drinks with added sugar contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart damage” .
Half of the parents have seen the warning labels on sugary drinks, and the other half have not. Parents were each asked to choose one drink and one snack for their child, as well as one household item to conceal the purpose of the study.
Of the parents in the control group, 45 percent bought sugary drinks for their children. In the group that saw the warnings on the packages, only 28 percent of the parents did so.
The graphic images accompanying the captions featured photographs of rotting legs and a damaged heart. This approach seems too intrusive and rude, but, as the researchers note, it will be beneficial.
Children in the US consume more than the recommended amount of sugary drinks, which increases the risk of developing various chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“Picture warnings have reduced parental purchases of sugary drinks for their children. Warnings on sugary drinks are a promising policy approach to reduce purchases of sugary drinks in the US,” the researchers conclude.
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