- Adolescents who see sugary drink warnings tend to drink fewer sodas, sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a new study funded by the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Participants did an online beverage survey where they simulated purchasing drinks from a vending machine, seeing some warning labels.
- Participants, who were ages 12 to 18, said that they believed "sugar-sweetened beverages were less likely to help them lead a healthy life and had more added sugar compared with the no-label condition," according to the study.
- The American Beverage Association responded in comments to CSP Daily News that beverages should not be solely held responsible for increases in medical conditions like obesity and diabetes. "America’s leading beverage companies ... are providing more reduced-calorie options and calorie counts to help [consumers] make the choice that’s right for them," an ABA statement said.
This study resurfaces the debate over whether sugary drink warnings could actually be effective in impacting consumers' health, regardless of age. In this case, participants were young and significantly affected by the warning labels, which is notable because kids influence their parents' food and beverage purchase decisions.
The soda industry in particular has reason to be concerned as more of these studies are released. After Berkeley, CA, passed its soda tax in 2014, consumption of soda and sugary drinks fell by 21% in lower-income neighborhoods, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Public Health.
In a recent report, the American Heart Association (AHA) found that children should consume less than six teaspoons of added sugars per day, and children under the age of 2 should avoid all foods and beverages with added sugars. These studies could potentially further harm sales of soda, juice and other sugary beverages because they add credence to health advocates' arguments against sugar, including the WHO and FDA.