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October 18, 2016

Science and Public Health on Trial: Warning Notices on Advertisements for Sugary Drinks

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California-San Francisco
  • 2Health Communications Research Program, UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California
  • 3Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2016;316(15):1545-1546. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10516

In 2015, city supervisors in San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring billboards advertising sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to include a notice: “Warning: drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the city and county of San Francisco.” The ordinance, originally scheduled to go into effect on July 25, 2016, represents the first such SSB warning notice law in the world. A clear, factual warning notice about health effects related to SSBs may be important in reducing disease rates among many people, including those with the lowest health literacy; low health literacy is associated with SSB consumption, contributing to a disparity in daily SSB consumption of about 240 calories.1

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