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To examine awareness and recall of healthy eating public education campaigns in five countries.
Data were cross-sectional and collected as part of the 2018 International Food Policy Study. Respondents were asked whether they had seen government healthy eating campaigns in the past year; if yes (awareness), they were asked to describe the campaign. Open-ended descriptions were coded to indicate recall of specific campaigns. Logistic models regressed awareness of healthy eating campaigns on participant country, age, sex, ethnicity, education, income adequacy and BMI. Analyses were also stratified by country.
Participants were Nielsen panelists aged ≥18 years in Australia, Canada, Mexico, UK and the USA (n 22 463).
Odds of campaign awareness were higher in Mexico (50·9 %) than UK (18·2 %), Australia (17·9 %), the USA (13·0 %) and Canada (10·2 %) (P < 0·001). Awareness was also higher in UK and Australia v. Canada and the USA, and the USA v. Canada (P < 0·001). Overall, awareness was higher among males v. females and respondents with medium or high v. low education (P < 0·001 for all). Similar results were found in stratified models, although no sex difference was observed in Australia or UK (P > 0·05), and age was associated with campaign awareness in UK (P < 0·001). Common keywords in all countries included sugar/sugary drinks, fruits and vegetables, and physical activity. The top five campaigns recalled were Chécate, mídete, muévete (Mexico), PrevenIMSS (Mexico), Change4Life (UK), LiveLighter® (Australia), and Actívate, Vive Mejor (Mexico).
In Mexico, UK and Australia, comprehensive campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles appear to have achieved broad, population-level reach.
In February 2020, San Francisco proposed mandatory health warnings for sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) advertisements. Industry legal challenges stated that the warning would detract from advertisers’ ability to convey their intended message and mislead consumers into believing that SSB cause weight gain regardless of consumption amount, lifestyle or intake of other energy-dense foods.
Online between-group experiments tested the impact of SSB warnings on advertising outcomes and consumer perceptions. Respondents were randomised to view six SSB print advertisements with or without a health warning (‘Warning’ and ‘No Warning’ condition, respectively). Linear and binary logistic regression models tested differences between groups, including ad recall, brand perceptions and beliefs about SSB health effects.
Panelists from the US Nielsen Global Panel.
Sixteen to 65-year-old respondents (n 1064).
Overall, 69·2 % of participants in the ‘Warning’ condition recalled seeing warnings on SSB ads. Compared with the ‘No Warning’ condition, participants in the ‘Warning’ condition who reported noticing the warnings were equally likely to recall the brands featured in the SSB ads and to recall specific attributes of the final ad they viewed. Similarly, no differences were observed between groups in perceptions of SSB, such as perceived taste, or in the prevalence of false beliefs regarding the health effects of SSB and intake of other sugary foods on weight gain.
Overall, there was no evidence that SSB health warnings detracted from attention to promotional elements in advertisements or that the warnings misled consumers into false beliefs about SSB as the exclusive cause of weight gain.
Canadians consume approximately twice the daily Adequate Intake of sodium. The present study examined the efficacy of four types of front-of-package (FOP) sodium labels at influencing consumers’ selection of products low v. high in sodium.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of five experimental conditions: (i) control condition with no FOP label; (ii) basic numeric FOP label; (iii) numeric FOP label with ‘high’ and ‘low’ sodium content descriptors; (iv) detailed Traffic Light (TL) label with colour coding, content descriptors and numeric information; and (v) simple TL label with no numeric information. Participants were shown pairs of grocery products that varied in sodium content and told they could choose a free sample. Selection of the low-sodium v. the high-sodium product was the primary behavioural outcome, in addition to ratings of effectiveness, understanding, liking and believability.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Adults (n 430) aged ≥18 years, recruited from community settings.
Participants in the three FOP conditions with ‘high/low’ sodium content descriptors were significantly more likely to choose the lower-sodium product compared with the control group. The detailed TL label was ranked most effective at helping participants select low-sodium products, and was rated significantly higher than other formats in liking, understanding and believability. Product selection did not differ significantly across sociodemographic groups.
FOP labels that include content descriptors may be more effective in helping consumers to select lower-sodium products. TL labels, which incorporate content descriptors and colour coding, should be considered for future FOP labelling initiatives.
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