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Making progress in promoting healthy choices at grocery stores

Congratulations to Massachusetts General Hospital on being a leader in implementing healthier choices and in making an important contribution to the base of evidence that “point of decision” placement and signage make a positive impact on consumer purchasing decisions.

The Globe’s editorial suggestion for the retail grocery sector to implement similar initiatives is indeed a feasible one and an important next step in creating a healthier food environment (“Green is for ‘go ahead, eat,’ ” Jan. 8). The Boston Public Health Commission, along with colleagues from Harvard University, is working with Boston supermarkets to implement changes as part of a Rethink Your Drink public awareness campaign; this campaign also uses a traffic light icon to help shoppers understand the health impacts of sugary drink consumption.

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To date, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop supermarkets have taken important first steps with short-term changes in signage and in beverage placement. In addition, Tropical Foods in Roxbury has installed permanent signage urging its customers to “Stop. Rethink Your Drink. Go on Green.” We applaud these businesses for these and other efforts to help their customers make healthier choices.

Anne McHugh

Director

Chronic Disease Prevention

and Control Division

Boston Public Health

Commission

Steven L. Gortmaker

Professor of the practice of

health sociology

Harvard School of Public Health

Jose Alvarez

Senior lecturer

Harvard Business School

Boston

Alvares is former CEO and president of the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.

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