People that smoke cigarettes know the risk they are taking when doing it. Aside from the commercials they may see on television or their friends telling them about smoking’s pitfalls, they also see the warnings every time they buy a pack with the Surgeon General Warning on the side.
It looks like some want to have similar labels on sugar-sweetened drinks. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine feel that such labels will have a positive effect on deterring parents from purchasing these drinks for their children. Sugar-sweetened drinks such as sodas and sugary juices have been found to have as much as seven teaspoons of sugar per 6.5 ounces. With the newest eating guidelines proclaiming that added sugar shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of a person’s daily calorie intake, that amount is almost double the dietary recommendation, making it a factor in the children obesity rate.
The main reason researchers are advocating for such a label is to better inform parents of the health risks that are included in the over-consumption of such beverages. Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are only a few things that children can be exposed to if they are to drink too many of these sugary drinks, dangers that the parent may not necessarily know about or consider when purchasing for their child.
Researchers put this theory to the test by surveying over 2,300 parents that have children between the ages of 6 and 11. They divided the parents into several groups, including: parents that saw no labels on beverages, parents that only saw how many calories were in the beverages, and several groups that saw different alterations of warning labels on the beverages.
When the parents were asked if they would buy sugar-sweetened drinks for their child, 40 percent of the parents that saw the warning labels said they would buy the drink for their child, compared to 60 percent who saw no labels on the beverages, and 53 percent who had calorie labels.
The labels did prove to have positive effects on parents, but there are other questions that arise. Such as will the parents choose healthy alternatives to these sugary drinks? Will they do it on a consistent basis? Will they make sure there isn’t over-consumption regardless of the beverage? But maybe warning labels is a step in the right direction particularly with reversing the increasing trend of childhood obesity. What effect do you think such labels will have on the purchase of sugary drinks?