Impact of health warning labels on snack selection: an online experimental study

Clarke, N ORCID: 0000-0003-2375-4510, Pechey, E, Mantzari, E, Blackwell, A.K.M, De-loyde, K, Morris, R.W, Munafò, M.R, Marteau, T.M and Hollands, G.J (2020) 'Impact of health warning labels on snack selection: an online experimental study.' Appetite, 154. e104744. ISSN 0195-6663

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104744

Abstract

Excessive consumption of energy-dense food increases the risk of obesity, which in turn increases the risk of non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and most non-smoking-related cancers. Health warning labels (HWLs) that communicate the adverse health consequences of excess energy consumption could reduce intake of energy-dense foods. The aim of the current study was to estimate the impact on selection of energy-dense snacks of (a) image-and-text HWLs (b) text-only HWLs and (c) calorie information. In a between-subjects, 3 (HWL: image-and-text, text-only, no label) x 2 (calorie information: present, absent), factorial experimental design, participants (N = 4134) were randomised to view a selection of energy-dense and non-energy-dense snacks with one of five label types or no label. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants selecting an energy-dense snack in a hypothetical vending machine task. The proportion of participants selecting an energy-dense snack was reduced in all label groups, relative to the no label group (no label: 59%; calories only: 54%; text-only HWL: 48%; text-only HWL with calories: 44%; image-and-text HWL: 37%; image-and-text HWL with calories: 38%). Compared to the no label group, participants were least likely to select an energy-dense snack in the image-and-text HWL group (OR = 0.46, 95%CI = 0.40, 0.54, p < 0.001). Health warning labels – particularly those including an image and text - have the potential to reduce selection of energy-dense snacks in an online setting. Their impact on selection and consumption in real-world settings awaits testing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: health warning labels, pictorial labels, graphic warnings, snacks, food, choice architecture, energy-dense
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104744
Date Deposited: 04 May 2022 11:53
Last Modified: 05 May 2022 05:30
URI / Page ID: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14749
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