Washington: A new study has demonstrated that teens who noticed the printed signs that explained the number of miles they would need to walk to burn off the calories in a sugary drink were more likely to leave the store with a lower calorie beverage, a healthier beverage or a smaller size beverage.
The study conducted at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health research showed that calorie counts on products and menus isn't enough to break Americans from their bad eating habits.
Study leader Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, people did not really understood what it meant to say a typical soda had 250 calories and if one was going to give people calorie information, there was probably a better way to do it.
Bleich and her colleagues installed signs in six corner stores in low-income, predominantly black Baltimore neighborhoods. The signs, four in all, presented a key fact about the number of calories in a 20 oz. bottle of soda, sports drink or fruit juice that each bottle contained 250 calories, had 16 teaspoons of sugar, would take 50 minutes of running to work off those calories or would take five miles to walk the calories off.
Researchers observed 3,098 drink purchases in the stores by black adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 and interviewed 25 percent of them after leaving the store about whether they saw and understood the signs. Of the 35 percent of kids who said they saw the signs, 59 percent said they believed them and 40 percent said they changed their behavior as a result.
The study is published online in the American Journal of Public Health.