Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Related Public Service Advertisements and Their Influence on Parents

Cross-posted from the UPenn Prevention Research Center

In American Behavioral Scientist, Amy Jordan and colleagues, including Karen Glanz, use a novel experimental approach to identify the effectiveness of distinct persuasive strategies used in audiovisual (television-format) public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage parents to reduce their children’s sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption. Evaluation of existing SSB-related PSAs is vitally important because it can provide insight into which persuasive appeals are most effective for audiences, particularly those most at risk for overweight and obesity. Their findings suggest that anti-SSB campaigns targeting parents should include strong arguments for sugar-sweetened beverage reduction, invoke feelings of empowerment and hope, and be clearly directed at distinct parent audiences. At the same time the authors recognize that while individual actions may be helpful, the obesogenic environment that surrounds children may subvert even the most involved and well-intentioned parents. Appeals to personal parenting responsibility should be made in concert with efforts to create healthier structural, nutritional, and preventative environments.