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An Easy Way to Decrease Teen Soda Consumption

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When it comes to nutritional facts and figures, everyone responds differently.  Some people like to know exact calorie counts and nutrient details when making food choices.  Others prefer visual comparisons (for example, a serving of bread is about the size of an index card.)  Researchers have found an interesting way to discourage teenage soda consumption- and it’s not by telling teens how many calories are in a serving or that one soda accounts for 11 percent of their daily recommended calories.  So what is the strategy that seems to be working?     
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.  Researchers picked four stores near middle and high schools in low-income areas.   They posted a piece of paper on the drink coolers which said that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda.  This information seemed to decrease soda purchases by 40 percent, and teens tended to purchase water instead.  Posting a similar sign that said one soda contained 250 calories seemed to have no effect on purchases.  
A new federal law (which goes into effect this year) will require vending machines and restaurants to post calorie information for food and drinks.  While calorie information works for some, this study proves that it doesn’t work for everyone.  Perhaps there are better ways to get the message across, especially to a teen audience.    
One of my recent blogs discussed an easy way to get kids to purchase more fruit in the cafeteria line.  Just moving the bowl increased consumption by more than 100%.  It seems worth the time and effort to find creative ways to improve the eating habits of young people.  These are just two examples of easy changes that made a big difference.
Wondering which drinks are the best choices for you?  Check out SparkPeople’s Healthy Beverage Guidelines for more information. 
What do you think?

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My DS has been a pop junky the past 5-6 years, in spite of offering fruit or other healthier solutions. But... he seems to be interested in a school for training helicopter pilots that has a weight limit - so now he has voluntarily stopped most soda just to work on his weight. I'm just trying to stay out of his way. Report
I love this! I think it's a perfect way to help people drink less soda. To find about what New York city is doing to fight soda consumption, check out the New York Soda Ban article at Report
I haven't drank a soday for two months now. I also don't like by soday for economic reasons. So when I buy food junk food and soda I have elliminated. It helps with the economic pressure. Report
Hmmmm. I wonder how many stores and soda machine vendors would post this on Their machines?
I DON'T think we need another Federal law to tell us how to live our lives. By not allowing soda in the house, children will learn, by themselves, soda is not good for them.

There is an experiment to show the affect of soda on meat. Put a couple of ounces of cheap ground meat in a small bowl. Pour a can of coke of coke over it and watch the meat dissolve. Ask the kids (or grand-kids) to imagine what it is doing to their stomach. You can't FORCE my grandson to drink soda. Report
I was so excited when I saw the title of this blog. I thought I could use the tips to kick my diet soda addiction. Unfortunately, diet soda has zero calories so this technique won't work. I will, however, be using this technique to make smarter snack choices. Who wants to jog an hour or more for a piece of cake? Not me. Report
We also don't have sodas in the house. Even if we eat out, we are all served water. Report
A start is by eliminating soda at home. Very rarely do we have soda in our house so our kids look at getting soda as a treat. You can't monitor your kids 24/7 but you can influence them to make the right choices by example. Report
I think it starts at home. I didn't have soda in my house so they didn't develop the habit of drinking it. Both my daughters know water is very important. they both will have soda and I think it is fine since this is not their main drink. As for fruits, this is something I always had in the house and it always was available. Anytime they'd be hungry between meals they could have fruits and veggies as much as they wanted. The trick is education at home. Report
Parents have to teach their own children about good health. I quit buying soda about five years ago. Report
whatever works to get people to drink less soda is worth it! Report
Signs on a vending machine that offers 30 items? I won't be able to read the print! I like the " It takes X minutes of running ( or some understandable form of work) warning. I am no tween, and that carries mening to me. Report
I think the information is a good idea.
We rarely have sodas here at home. I only buy them occasionally for a treat. We always have bottled water, and filtered water at our sink. We also make tea a LOT.
Our school is very small, so their choices are limited. There are no snack machines, but there is a soda machine, however, the kids have told me they can only purchase from it during certain times of the day (lunch and after school) and that it only has diet sodas in it. They normally opt NOT to buy sodas from machines anyway because of the cost.
The thing that is most frustrating at our school are the lunch choices, which at our school are none. You get what they serve, and the FDA guidelines are a joke, the lunches are NOT healthy, very limited fruit and veggies, heavy on the breaded stuff, potatoes, pasta and junk like that. I know some kids will ONLY eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, but there are a LOT who would eat healthy given the option. My kids take their lunch because of this. Report
I work with teens, and the study makes sense because this generation, more than any I've worked with previously, is suddenly concerned with the 'cost' of things: 50 minutes work-out to work off one soda is "expensive" and that, they notice. Report
I think most people don't realize the impact of calories. Why don't we teach this stuff in schools? I'm glad to hear that vending machines and restaurants are going to post nutrition info. I hate standing at the vending machine wondering which choice is the best. Report
It hasn't been difficult to teach the kids water (from our house, taken with them EVERYWHERE). The biggest thing is even though they're tweens now, they still drink TONS of milk! They love soy milk, too. Can't keep enough. Soda? They're not into it. We simply didn't offer it to them throughout their younger years. They may still pick it up but so far, so good! Report
I think this is a great idea! Sometimes kids don't see things, like calorie count, in the same way as adults. Letting them know that one soda = 50 minutes of hard work changes their thought process by relating what the choice could mean to them. When dealing with my 13 year old daughter, I often have to state the consequences in terms that she can relate to in order to get my point across rather than using the old standby 'because I said so'. With childhood obesity at epidemic levels, I think we should change the way we are teaching children about food choices and exercise. Report
They probably will ignore the sign! Report
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