Diet

Do image-based warning labels reduce selection of sugary drinks by parents for their children?

Our new study published in Preventive Medicine Reports on 23rd October 2018 indicates that placing image-based warning labels on SSBs reduced their selection by participating parents choosing a beverage for their children.

During the study, 2002 parents viewed a selection of sugary and non-sugary drinks online, presented either without a label, a calorie information label or an image-based warning with or without calorie information and were asked to choose one for their child to consume. The proportion of parents selecting a sugary drink was lower when the drinks were presented with an image-based warning, compared to when no label or just calorie information were used. The most effective label included the image of the rotting teeth.

The study indicates that image-based warning labels, especially those illustrating the health consequences of excess sugar consumption, have the potential to reduce the selection of SSBs by parents for their children.

To read the findings of the study in full, click on the link.

Impact of warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages on parental selection: An online experimental study. Preventive Medicine Reports. E Mantzari, M Vasiljevic, I Turney, M Pilling, T Marteau.

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Does communicating evidence of policy effectiveness influence public support for the policy?

In a new paper investigating public acceptability for policy interventions to improve health (published in Social Science and Medicine 4th October, 2018), researchers tested ways to communicate quantitative evidence of the effectiveness of a hypothetical tax on confectionery to help tackle childhood obesity.

The study comprised of a series of experiments, involving nearly 10,000 people. Researchers used results obtained from the first two experiments to improve their infographics and accompanying numerical information provided to study participants in the succeeding experiment. The third experiment, using the improved materials, consequently showed increased support for the hypothetical tax, equivalent to increasing the number who support the tax from 45% to 49%. Click on the read more button for further details about this study.

Communicating quantitative evidence of policy effectiveness and support for the policy: Three experimental studies. Reynolds JP, Pilling M, Marteau TM. Soc Sci Med.

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What is the potential impact of reducing portion sizes in worksite cafeterias?

Reducing the portion sizes of foods available in restaurants and cafeterias is one promising approach to reducing energy intake, but there is little evidence of its impact from randomised studies in field settings. In this paper, we provide the results of a pilot trial estimating the potential impact of reducing portion sizes of targeted foods in worksite cafeterias. Feedback after the intervention suggested it was broadly acceptable to customers and cafeteria staff. Each of the six cafeterias showed a reduction in daily energy purchased from intervention categories, but the overall reduction across all sites of 8.9% was not statistically significant. The results of this trial suggest that reducing portion sizes could be effective in reducing energy purchased from targeted food categories, but also that future studies will need to address factors that prevented optimal implementation, including site dropout and only reducing portion sizes of a limited range of products.

Impact of reducing portion sizes in worksite cafeterias: a stepped wedge randomised controlled pilot trial. Hollands GJ, Cartwright E, Pilling M, Pechey R, Vasiljevic M, Jebb SA, Marteau TM, 2018

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