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Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102(3):527-33. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300391. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

A 2-phase labeling and choice architecture intervention to improve healthy food and beverage choices.

Author information

1
General Medicine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA. athorndike@partners.org

Erratum in

  • Am J Public Health. 2012 Apr;102(4):584.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We assessed whether a 2-phase labeling and choice architecture intervention would increase sales of healthy food and beverages in a large hospital cafeteria.

METHODS:

Phase 1 was a 3-month color-coded labeling intervention (red = unhealthy, yellow = less healthy, green = healthy). Phase 2 added a 3-month choice architecture intervention that increased the visibility and convenience of some green items. We compared relative changes in 3-month sales from baseline to phase 1 and from phase 1 to phase 2.

RESULTS:

At baseline (977,793 items, including 199,513 beverages), 24.9% of sales were red and 42.2% were green. Sales of red items decreased in both phases (P < .001), and green items increased in phase 1 (P < .001). The largest changes occurred among beverages. Red beverages decreased 16.5% during phase 1 (P < .001) and further decreased 11.4% in phase 2 (P < .001). Green beverages increased 9.6% in phase 1 (P < .001) and further increased 4.0% in phase 2 (P < .001). Bottled water increased 25.8% during phase 2 (P < .001) but did not increase at 2 on-site comparison cafeterias (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

A color-coded labeling intervention improved sales of healthy items and was enhanced by a choice architecture intervention.

PMID:
22390518
PMCID:
PMC3329221
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2011.300391
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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