Study: Teenagers Pay Attention to Health Warnings on Beverage Labels

Beverage LabelsA new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that teenagers are less likely to choose sugary drinks that contain health warnings on labels.

The warnings may come in different forms, such as shrink sleeves for bottles and other beverage labels. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed over 2,000 respondents, aged between 12 years and 18 years old.

The study conducted the poll online, which revealed that teen consumers within that age bracket were up to 16% less probable to select sugary drinks with health warnings. The results provided a significant view on young people’s beverage choices, from either a health or marketing perspective.

What the Survey Says

A majority of the respondents, or 62%, supported the inclusion of labels on beverage drinks that warn against health risks. For instance, the warnings may include a phrase like “Safety Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

As of now, not all manufacturers are required to comply with this new system. However, legislation that would implement such practice has been proposed in Baltimore, California, and New York. In San Francisco, an ordinance was implemented in July that ordered a safety warning on printed ads, posters, and billboards.

On the other hand, 77% of respondents said that they would likely choose a sugary beverage without health warnings.

Why the Labels

Christina Roberto, the study’s lead author, said that the average U.S. teen drinks at least one sugary product each day. This inadvertently leads to the rapid increase in sugar consumption in the U.S. that result to people contracting obesity and type 2 diabetes among other illnesses, according to Roberto.

Teenagers are among the most prone to have poor food and beverage choices, which is why the study aimed to shed a light on how warning labels could contribute to proper food diet and disease prevention.