Published: October 2014

ID #: 69292

Journal: Am J Public Health

Authors: Bleich SN, Barry CL, Gary-Webb TL, Herring BJ

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This paper examines the ways in which adolescents altered the type and size of their purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in response to an intervention in six corner stores located in lower-income, predominately black neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland. Researchers used one of four randomly posted signs with caloric information about a 20 ounce SSB: 1) absolute calories; 2) number of teaspoons of sugar; 3) number of minutes running needed to burn it off; or 4) miles of walking necessary to burn it off. They collected the purchase data of a sample of black adolescents between ages 12 and 18. Researchers found that providing easy-to-understand caloric information significantly reduced the number of total beverage calories purchased (203 calories vs. 184 calories), the likelihood of buying a SSB (98% vs. 89%), and the likelihood of buying a SSB greater than 16 ounces (54% vs. 37%). They also found that the purchasing behaviors persisted for six weeks after the signs were removed. The reduction in calories purchased can be attributed to adolescents purchasing fewer sodas (44% vs. 30%) and sport drinks (3% vs. 1%) and purchasing more water (1% vs. 4%) and diet sodas (0.01% vs. 1%) as a result of the intervention.

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