Using Strategic Science to Improve Food Labeling Policies

In a video interview, Christina Roberto, Phd, director of the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health (PEACH) Lab, discusses how she uses a”strategic science” approach to engage policymakers in her research around food labeling policies. This approach can be applied to numerous other areas of public health research.  

Read More Sodium content needs to be on the menu at Philly restaurants. Here’s why

“… Nearly 50 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at great risk of suffering a stroke or developing heart disease, two of the leading killers of Americans. Because excessive sodium contributes to high blood pressure, reducing our sodium intake is important for our health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. But nearly all of us are overshooting that goal, with 89 percent of Americans consuming more than that on a daily basis. When we look at where we are getting all this sodium, we find that it doesn’t come from using…

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When It Comes to Calorie Consumption, Is Knowledge Power?

“The other day, I went to order lunch from a local chain restaurant. Half a turkey sandwich and a small cup of soup sounded like a good, appropriately sized, warm meal for a wintery day. As I placed my order, a kiosk tallied the calories right before my eyes: 400 for the sandwich and almost 300 for the soup… Hmm. That seemed like a lot. Maybe, I thought, if I remove the bacon from the sandwich… and get a smaller soup…? “You know Image credit: Terrence Horan, MarketWatch what? I’m sure it’s fine,” I told myself, and completed the order….

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New York Times: NYC calorie rule scrutinized in courts of law, and science

As a court fight simmers over New York City’s pioneering requirement for calorie counts on chain restaurant menus, scientists say the jury’s still out on whether giving people the numbers spurs them to eat healthier. CHIBE’s Christina Roberto says, “It’s unreasonable to say, ‘If this one policy doesn’t reduce obesity, it’s a failure,’ because the chances any one policy will do that are incredibly small.” Read more in the New York Times.

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Closing the Scholarship-Policy Gap with Strategic Science

This summer the Trump administration announced further delays in (1) implementing calorie labels on restaurant menus across the nation and (2) rolling out a new nutrition facts label. Both policies are designed to increase nutrition transparency and arm consumers with important health information when making decisions. This signals little interest from the current administration in promoting sound, common-sense nutrition policies. It also highlights a need, more than ever, for scientists to communicate with policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels, to encourage evidence-based policymaking. Most of the time, scientists generate their research questions based on what they think is interesting and important. This approach…

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CHIBE Behavioral Economics Symposium Closes Seven-Year Research Program

The University of Pennsylvania LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics’ 2016 Behavioral Economics and Health Symposium was both a spotlight on the latest research work as well as the conclusion of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Donaghue Foundation funded program that began seven years ago. CHIBE played a lead role in the initiative whose goal was to explore the ways behavioral economics principles might be applied to health-related behaviors. Read more at LDI eMagazine.

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Sugary Drinks – You’ve Been Warned

What policymakers can learn from research While a tax on sugary drinks is grabbing the headlines in Philadelphia, several cities and states are exploring other interventions to curb the consumption of sugary drinks, and hopefully reap health benefits. One such proposal is to put warning labels on sugary drinks, or on the advertising for them, calling out adverse health effects, particularly obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. A San Francisco ordinance, which requires publicly displayed advertising for sugary drinks to devote 20 percent of the ad to a warning label, was scheduled to take effect this summer but is on hold…

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Warning Labels May Discourage Teens from Purchasing Sugary Drinks

Source: Forbes, New York Daily News,, U.S. News & World Report,  Knowledge@Wharton Radio, Times of India, American Heart Association, Nutrition Insight, Penn Medicine News, Health Day, Daily Mail, Healthy Food America, PreventObesity.Net,, Pourqui Docteur,  AJMC, India TV News, Medical Xpress, Beverage Daily, LDI Health Policy$ense, September 8, 2016 Teens are more than 15 percent less likely to say they would purchase soft drinks and other sugary drinks that include health warning labels, according to a new CHIBE study conducted by Christina Roberto, PhD and Eric Van Epps, PhD of the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health Lab. The…

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Warning Labels May Deter Parents From Purchasing Sugar-sweetened Beverages for Kids

Sources: CBS News, US News & World Report, TIME, Fox News,, Penn Medicine News, HealthDay, Medical News Today, WebMD, Medical Daily, Doctors Lounge, Medical Xpress, Capital Wired, NewsMax, International Business Times, January 14, 2016 An article published in Pediatrics by lead author Christina Roberto, PhD, found that warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages may deter parents from purchasing them. Roberto commented that “Some states have introduced bills requiring SSBs to display health warning labels, but to date, there is little data to suggest how labels might influence purchasing habits, or which labels may be the most impactful.” She notes that their findings are similar to those from studies that examined the effects…

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