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‘Change4Life Smart Swaps’: quasi-experimental evaluation of a natural experiment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wendy Wrieden



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Objective: To evaluate the impact on food purchasing behaviour of the‘Change4Life Smart Swaps’ campaign to encourage families to make smallchanges to lower-fat or lower-sugar versions of commonly eaten foods and drinks.Design: Quasi-experimental study comparing the proportion of swaps made by anintervention group (267 families who had signed up to the ‘Smart Swaps’ campaignpromoted through various media, including television and radio advertising in early2014) and a comparison group (135 families resident in Wales, signed up for‘Change4Life’ materials, but not directly exposed to the ‘Smart Swaps’ campaign).During weeks 1, 2 and 3 of the campaign participants were asked to record theirpurchases of dairy products, carbonated drinks and breakfast cereals, using amobile phone app questionnaire, when making a purchase within the category.Setting: England and Wales.Subjects: Families registered with ‘Change4Life’.Results: In weeks 2 and 3 a significantly higher percentage of the interventiongroup had made ‘smart swaps’ than the comparison group. After week 3, 58% ofparticipants had swapped to a lower-fat dairy product compared with 26% of thecomparison group (P<0·001), 32% of the intervention group had purchased alower-sugar drink compared with 19% of the comparison group (P=0·01), and24% had made a change to a lower-sugar cereal compared with 12% of thecomparison group (P=0·009).Conclusions: In the short term a national campaign to change purchase habitstowards healthier products may have some merit but the sustainability of changerequires further investigation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wrieden WL, Levy LB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Health Nutrition

Year: 2016

Volume: 19

Issue: 13

Pages: 2388-2392

Print publication date: 01/09/2016

Online publication date: 22/03/2016

Acceptance date: 15/02/2016

Date deposited: 14/06/2016

ISSN (print): 1368-9800

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2727

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1368980016000513


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