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The Label Industry Could Be The Answer To Treating A Growing Epidemic!
Food and beverage suppliers have used labels for many years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it mandatory for companies to share the nutrition facts of the products they are selling. Many of these companies have done so through the use of labels.
With fast-food chains offering cheap food and quick service and families in recent years becoming even busier than before with working parents, after school activities and local sporting events, obesity has become an epidemic in America. It’s because of this that Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban the selling of sodas over 16 ounces from all movie-theaters, sports arenas, food carts, delis and restaurants.
“Obesity is the largest public health issue around the country but also in New York City,” Bloomberg said in an interview with CBS (link to source).
Has this epidemic become so awful that city officials have needed to step in? Is there another alternative? The Massachusetts General Hospital believes that labeling products in a different, non-traditional way could be the solution!
Using their own hospital cafeteria and three colored labels they have shown that in just six months things can change. Maybe nutrition labels are difficult to read, they’re small, they are located on the backside of most products and many people have never been taught how to read them.
Three colored labels: red, yellow and green helped make all the difference! Items that had more healthy ingredients and less fat and sugar were given green labels. Food and drinks that had equally good and bad parts were given a yellow label. Finally red labels were put on items with a great deal of sugar, calories and saturated fat.
After only six months of color-coding food and beverage items with labels the hospital noticed a significant decrease in the sale of products labeled with red labels. They also noticed an increase in the sale of products labeled with green labels!
Taking away large sodas in New York City many not be the right answer. Instead simply placing color coated labels on items and educating the public may be a better solution.