by Mikkel Smith-Lee
US Researchers have started posting their findings about how bad sugary drinks are. Not like this is a new topic, but they have been trying different tactics to reach US teens. They have started posting signs about how much exercise it takes to burn off those sugary drinks. “The most effective sign said it took five miles to walk of the 250 calories in a sugary drink”.
“What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking is needed to burn them off, you can encourage behavior change.” This was stated by study leader, Dr. Sara Bleich, associate professor at the Bloomberg School, John Hopkins University. By not just telling teens that sugary drinks are bad for you, the study shows that if you give them some real-life reasons, the habit of purchasing the sugary drinks goes down.
By translating the calories in the drinks into the amount of exercise needed to burn off those calories, teens were able to take a more realistic approach to what they put in their systems. The researchers put the signs up for six weeks and found that 59% of teens interviewed while exiting the stores changed what they were buying into non-sugar drinks. Before the signs were put up, 98% of drinks bought in those same shops were sugary ones. They also claim that larger bottles of the sugary drinks went down from 54% to 37%. That is amazing considering one can of fizzy drink contains around nine teaspoons of sugar. That is a considerable amount of sugar not being consumed.
The other plus to this study is that if the warning signs are kept up, fewer and fewer sugary drinks will be bought and consumed. With the ratio of 1:4 adults and 1:5 children in the UK are obese, and 1:3 children in the US are obese, this could significantly help in the health of our citizens. Anything that can help promote obesity-prevention or weight loss is a good thing!