Mass Media Campaign to Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in a Rural Area of the United States

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Objectives. To evaluate a mass media campaign to reduce the consumption of sugarsweetened beverages (SSBs). Methods. We disseminated messages emphasizing the health risks of SSBs through television, digital channels, and local organizations over 15 weeks in 2015-2016 in the Tri-Cities region of northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and southeast Kentucky. Weevaluated the campaign with pre- and post-telephone surveys of adults aged 18 to 45 years in the intervention area and by examining changes in beverage sales in the intervention and a matched comparison area in western Virginia. Results. Fifty-four percent of postcampaign respondents recalled seeing a campaign advertisement. After the campaign, 53% of respondents believed SSBs were a cause of heart disease, and respondents were more likely postcampaign to consider SSBs a "big cause of diabetes" (75% vs 60%; P < .001). Compared with 12 months before, after the start of the campaign, SSB sales decreased 3.4%, including a 4.1% decrease in soda sales in the intervention area relative to the comparison area (P < .01). Conclusions. This brief media campaign on SSBs was followed by intended changes in beliefs and consumption. Public Health Implications. Additional media campaigns on SSBs should be attempted and evaluated. (Am J Public Health. 2017;107:989-995.