The study which asked 2,000 plus parents to complete an online survey in which they had to select a drink for their child between 20 options. The choices included 12 sugary beverages (which had a minimum of 75 calories each) and a further 8 options which included water, juices and diet sodas.
Some of the parents were provided with images of sugary drinks together with warning labels on the front of the bottle. These labels included a warning which read “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”. Which is wording based on a proposed California bill. Some of the other parents saw a calorie label which is voluntary for US companies selling beverages. A another group of parents saw no labels at all.
The research uncovered that if health warnings were placed on labels, parents were less likely to purchase them for their child. Only 40% of the parents who were shown the health warnings chose sugary beverage options, compared to 53% of those who saw calorie labels and 60% who were shown no label.
“We are trying to make a link between the high sugar content and the calories and the actual downstream outcomes [of sugary drinks]. You can say that something has 18 or 24 grams of sugar, but most people have no clue what a gram is,” said David Hammond, professor in the school of public health at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.