November 25, 2014 – Durable Result


Anchor lead: When kids are educated about calories, they continue to make better nutritional choices, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Kids who were exposed to signage detailing how much they’d need to walk to burn off a 20 ounce soda chose such a beverage much less often, a Johns Hopkins study led by Sara Bleich has found.  Bleich says, even more exciting is that this result persisted over time.

Bleich: At the end life we took all our signs down and life returned to usual and we watched the kids.  And this time we found that there was this persistent effect of this information on behavior.  So for six weeks after the signs had come down and life was as usual in these stores, the kids were still buying fewer calories, fewer sugary beverages, and fewer large volume sugary beverages.  So we were really encouraged by these results.   :20

Bleich accounts for some of the success of this intervention by the very simplicity of the signage.

Bleich: Our thought is that if you give it to them in these easily understandable nuggets it’s going to have a bigger impact.   :05

One question that remains is how long such behavior change remains if signs are kept in place, since previous research has shown that once people become accustomed to something they stop paying attention.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.