By Deborah Kotz
Boston Globe

Teens, it turns out, are not that good at deciphering food labels when it comes to choosing between water and sugary beverages. Or perhaps they simply don't look at them at all, leading them to reach for a bottle of Coke at the corner deli rather than a bottle of Poland Spring.

But if they were clearly informed about how many calories were in that Coke bottle, would they be more likely to choose the water?

That's what researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health wanted to know when they plastered signs in a number of convenience stores in Baltimore to see whether they would affect purchases of soft drinks by teens.

Click here to watch a video overview of the research. Scroll down within the article to see the video.

One of the signs read: "Did you know that a bottle of soda or fruit juice has about 250 calories?" (It contained more than one serving.) Another read: "Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?"

Teen purchases of sugary beverages fell by about 40 percent in stores during the week signs were posted compared with the week before, with the biggest impact - a 50 percent drop - from signs comparing calories consumed to exercise, according to the study published last week in the American Journal of Public Health.

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