Published: May 2020

Journal: PLOS Medicine

Authors: Grummon AH, Hall MG

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Policymakers worldwide are considering requiring warnings for sugary drinks. A growing number of experimental studies have examined sugary drink warnings’ impacts, but no research to our knowledge has synthesized this literature. To inform ongoing policy debates, this study aimed to identify the effects of sugary drink warnings compared with control conditions. Using a comprehensive search strategy, the researchers identified and meta-analyzed 23 experiments, representing more 16,000 individuals, that assessed the impact of sugary drink warnings versus control conditions. The study found that sugary drink warnings reduced both self-reported and objectively measured purchases of sugary drinks. Warnings also led to beneficial changes in mechanisms underlying longer-term behavior change, including causing stronger emotional responses, increasing perceptions that sugary drinks contribute to disease, and reducing intentions to purchase or consume sugary drinks.

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