Kids Drank Fewer Sodas When Researchers Did This

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Kids Drank Fewer Sodas When Researchers Did This
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Kids Drank Fewer Sodas When Researchers Did This

Read on to learn why a new study suggests exercise information should accompany calorie counts on restaurant menus.

In the study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health placed several bright 8.5-by-11-inch signs in six corner stores in Baltimore. The signs explained that one 20-ounce bottle of soda, sports drink or fruit juice contained 250 calories and 16 tablespoons of sugar, which would demand 5 miles of walking or 50 minutes of running to burn off.

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Since the signs were aimed at teens, the information reflected the calorie information relevant to a 110-pound adolescent. The researchers observed the behavior of the teens and found that the number of sugary calories purchased was about 179, which was a drop from 203 calories before the signs went up.

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"People don't really understand what it means to say a typical soda has 250 calories," Sara Bleich, an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, explained in a university news release. "If you're going to give people calorie information, there's probably a better way to do it. What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking needed to burn them off, you can encourage behavior change."

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The researchers believe explaining the amount of exercise required to burn off sugary beverages is a very effective way to get consumers to make better decisions since the teens observed in the study made healthier choices during the six weeks that the signs were up.

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Do you pay attention to calorie counts on menus? A new study has found a way to make those numbers even more persuasive.

Now that the Affordable Care Act will require restaurants with 20 or more locations to list the calories in their food, consumers can make healthier decisions. However, a new study found an even more persuasive way to convey this calorie information. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that when teens at a restaurant were informed one soda would require 50 minutes of running to burn off its calories, many opted for healthier choices when placing their order.

Check out the slideshow above to learn why researchers think comparing exercise to calories is a more useful way to convey calorie content.

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