I enjoyed the discussion in class about the effects of calorie-counting labels on consumers, so I decided to go off on a bit of a tangent.
Someone compared this to the warnings on cigarette labels and questioned their effectiveness. I remembered hearing something about this, so I tracked that research down. Geoff Fong, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo (my alma matar. Wot!), is head of a research group called ITC (International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project). I got to go to a lecture by him once, and it really is fascinating stuff. ITC’s research compares anti-smoking campaigns on a worldwide level. Hit the link to learn more, but a headline is that pictorial warnings on cigarette labels seem to be more effective than text-only warnings (ITC Project. (March 2012). Health Warnings on Tobacco Packages: ITC Cross-Country Comparison Report. University of Waterloo, ON, Can).
This is interesting as it suggests labels with pictorial warnings may be more effective than a calorie-count or warning on junk food packages. There was an article in The Globe and Mail about that this morning, actually: see here. Apparently, the Ontario Medical Association is recommending pictures on food labels.
Would a picture of fatty deposits be more effective in preventing people from buying junk food?