Published: September 2016

ID #: CAS018

Journal: Am J Prev Med

Authors: VanEpps EM, Roberto CA

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California, New York, and the cities of San Francisco and Baltimore have introduced bills requiring health-related warning labels for sugar-sweetened beverages. This study measured the extent to which these warning labels influence adolescents’ beliefs and hypothetical choices. Over 2,000 adolescents ages 12-18 completed an online survey in which they chose a beverage in a hypothetical vending machine task, rated perceptions of different beverages, and indicated interest in coupons for beverages. Participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions: 1) no warning label; 2) calorie label; 3–6) one of four text versions of a warning label (e.g., SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay). Controlling for frequency of beverage purchases, significantly fewer adolescents chose an SSB in three of the four warning label conditions (65%, 63%, and 61%) than in the no label condition (77%). Adolescents in the four warning label conditions chose fewer SSB coupons, and believed that SSBs were less likely to help them lead a healthy life and had more added sugar compared with the no label condition.

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