With Traffic Light Nutrition Labels, Teens Make Healthier Food Choices, Study Says

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With Traffic Light Nutrition Labels, Teens Make Healthier Food Choices, Study Says

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

To help us determine which foods are the healthiest options, nutrition facts are provided on packaged food products that we buy in the grocery store. In addition to the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) label that retailers and manufacturers are required to list on their packaged food products, some also include a traffic-light-style nutrition label, a visual presentation of nutrition facts like calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt using colors similar to those of traffic lights. Based on a new study, researchers say that teens may be more likely to choose healthier foods when traffic-light-style labels are included on packaged food rather than just the GDA label alone, according to Food & Drink Europe.

In the study, 81 Spanish teens aged 14 to 16 were asked to choose food from a menu which did not include brands over a 5-day period. The menu items were labeled either with just GDA labels or with both GDA and traffic light labels. Researchers found that traffic light labels helped teens choose food with fewer calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt more than the GDA labels did.

“We focused on teens adolescents because they are often very sensitive about their diet and body image and at the same time very vulnerable to marketing techniques used to influence consumer choices,” researchers wrote. They added that teen eating behaviors often continue into adulthood

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