Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that teens are more likely to forgo sugary drinks if they know how much physical activity it takes to work off the calories of the beverage. Signs that informed teens that they needed to walk 5 miles for each sugary drink, including soda and fruit juices, were placed in 6 corner stores in low-income and predominately black parts of Baltimore. The signs were kept up for 2 weeks yet teens continued to opt for less sugary drinks for up to 6 weeks after the signs had been taken down. The researchers saw that sugary drink sales to teens went down from 97% to 89% after the signs were put up.
People don’t really understand what it means to say a typical soda has 250 calories,” said lead researcher Sara N. Bleich. “What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking needed to burn them off, you can encourage behavior change.”
The rates of obesity and diabetes in low-income children and teens have become a public health concern for parents, governments and health professionals. This study is just one of many which aim to test methods of combating the problem. The relatively low-cost versus high effectiveness of the poster campaign is encouraging to researchers.
Read More – Study: Teens Buy Fewer Sugary Drinks If Informed They’d Have To Walk Five Miles To Burn Off The Calories (The Washington Post, Gail Sullivan)