Developing a Front-of-Package Labelling System in Guatemala to Encourage Healthier Beverage Choices
With one of the highest per capita consumption rates of soft drinks globally, the people of Guatemala are at a high risk for non-communicable diseases. This project will address the risk through a solution that aims to encourage healthier beverage choices among consumers. High sugar content labelling Overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay. To address the problem, the Guatemalan National Commission of Non-Communicable Diseases issued a strategy and action plan (2015-19) focused on health promotion, regulation, and surveillance. One of the plan's objectives is to implement a front-of-package label on energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages to encourage healthy choices. There is a problem, however. While consumers have access to nutrition labels on their foods and beverages, most do not understand them. New labels for sugar-sweetened beverages This research will target approximately 2,000 adolescents and their female caregivers from private and public schools in Guatemala. A marketing company will prepare a series of evidence-based, culturally appropriate labels for sugar-sweetened beverages. Researchers will measure and compare the influence of each designed label on each target group's perceptions of sugar-sweetened beverages, along with their purchase intentions. The data will be shared with Ministry of Health officials and private enterprises to determine the feasibility of implementing new, effective front-of-package labels on sugar-sweetened beverages. The knowledge from this project will inform policymakers and health care advocates on the labelling system that would be most likely to encourage healthier beverage choices. It might also influence intervention efforts for product labelling throughout Central America. The research is particularly relevant to women who are from low socio-economic households, as they are the most health and educationally disadvantaged in Guatemala.