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Make Healthy Beverage Choices Easier

Executive summary

Help employees understand the public health reasons behind Geisinger’s decision to remove sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) from its campuses.

2,000 Employees whose glucose levels decreased from a pre-diabetic to a normal range
36,995 Total pounds that employees lost
30% Increase in weight loss compared to the previous year
Case Study: The Problem

The Challenge

SSBs are primary contributors to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. In fact, by 2025, it’s predicted that 7 in 10 Americans will have type 2 diabetes.

Geisinger, a 12-hospital system that employs 1,600 physicians and cares for 1.2 million Pennsylvanians annually, decided to replace SSBs on its campus with healthier beverage options for employees, patients and visitors and partnered with Digital Health Strategies to communicate the change and help employees understand how SSBs, and sugar in general, are harmful.

Case Studies - The Solution

The Solution

Respond to employee feedback

Our communications directly and honestly addressed initial concerns about the policy. Topics included: “Is Geisinger banning sugary drinks and dictating healthy behaviors?” and “Why are we moving away from sugar-sweetened beverages?”

Develop wellness messaging architecture

Our campaign had a relatable and empathetic tone around the difficulty of changing longstanding habits. We also made it playful and positive to inspire excitement about trying new things.

Launch “Sugar Unwrapped” campaign

We highlighted the health risks of consuming too much sugar through a series of email and web articles. Topics included: “How much sugar is too much?” “How food labels help you uncover sugar in your food” and “What happens to my body when I consume too much sugar?”

Engage with interactive quizzes and listicles

Examples included: “Are these beverages naughty or nice?” “How long does it take to burn off these beverages?” and “7 ways to eat less sugar.”

Geisinger Sugar Unwrapped campaign website

Create “Guess the Sugar” contest

We invited patients, employees and visitors to guess how many teaspoons of sugar were in a five-gallon jug. Follow-up interactive digital content revealed that each jug contained 4,400 teaspoons — the amount of sugar consumed just by drinking one SSB daily for a year.

Case Study - The Results

The Results

2,000 Employees whose glucose levels decreased from a pre-diabetic to a normal range
36,995 Total pounds that employees lost
30% Increase in weight loss compared to the previous year