Impact of an intervention to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks in Catholic parishes in Peru

The consumption of sugary beverages is associated with the development of cardiometabolic diseases. In regions with large numbers of Catholic people, such as Latin America, interventions carried out in the context of Catholic masses could be an effective means of reducing the consumption of sugary drinks.


To evaluate the impact of a sermon on health protection delivered by priests at a Catholic Mass on the congregation’s decision to choose to consume soft drinks after the Mass.


The study was carried out at 12 Catholic parishes located in Chimbote, Ancash, Peru. These parishes were randomized into two groups. In the intervention group, the priests offered a sermon on the importance of protecting one’s health and the harm sugary drinks could cause. In the control group, no sermon related to this topic was given. All evaluations in this experiment were conducted at the first Sunday Mass of each church. A total of four assessments were conducted in this study: formative, baseline, week 1 after baseline, and week 3 after baseline assessments. The priest’s message intervention was only delivered once, at 1 week after the baseline assessment; thus, its immediate effect was evaluated in the same day. The short-term effects of the intervention were evaluated 3 weeks after the baseline.


A single, short, low-intensity sermon given by a priest during a Catholic mass has an immediate effect, reducing consumption of sugary beverages over water. The intervention also has a weak short-term effect.


J. Jaime Miranda MD, MsC, PhD


Chimbote, Perú


Center for Advanced Hindsight, Duke University and Universidad Católica Los Ángeles de Chimbote


March 2017 a June 2017

Research team

Jaime Miranda, MD, MSc, PhD. CRONICAS, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.
Dan Ariely PhD. Center for Advanced Hindsight, Duke University.
Antonio Bernabé-Ortiz MD, MsC. CRONICAS, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.
Janina Bazalar- Palacios BSN. CRONICAS, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.
Alvaro Taype-Rondan MD, MsC. CRONICAS, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.