Sugar sweetened beverage consumption and behavioral correlates in a pilot study of high school students in Austin, Texas

Christina S Hoppe, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) has been reliably linked to obesity in adolescents. A wide variety of beverages sweetened with sugar are available to this population. The objective of this secondary data analysis was to assess the consumption of SSB by category and to identify behaviors that occur concurrently with the consumption of soda, sport drinks and fruit-flavored drinks in high school students. The analysis used self-reported survey data from 97 adolescents ages 14 to 18. SSB categories considered in the consumption analysis included regular soda, sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks (FFD), iced tea, coffee drinks and energy drinks. The mean weekly sweetened beverage load in this population, calculated from the frequency and amount of consumption, was 145 ounces when all categories were considered. When SSB categories were considered independently, sports drinks (45 oz.) had the highest contribution to the mean sweetened beverage load followed by FFD (41 oz.), iced tea (27 oz.), soda (26 oz.) coffee drinks (15 oz.) and energy drinks (2 oz.). Sweetened beverage load was higher in boys (151 oz.) than girls (138 oz.) and was highest in Hispanics (159 oz.) followed by whites (152 oz.), blacks (137 oz.) and others (104 oz.). Behaviors that occurred on a usual basis during SSB consumption included watching TV, eating a family meal, eating salty and fried foods, being on the computer and hanging out with friends. Activities concurrent with sports drink consumption included physical activity behaviors whereas soda and FFD did not. Sports drink and FFD consumption commonly co-occurred with fruit consumption. Multiple SSB categories contribute to the total SSB consumption and the common dietary and activity behaviors are distinct between categories. Several of the concurrent behaviors point to the importance of home beverage availability, and to the influence that parents and peers have on SSB consumption. Identifying and assessing intervention strategies targeted to specific beverage categories could be an important step in behavioral intervention research aimed at reducing added sugar consumption, and ultimately, promote a healthy weight in adolescents.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Hoppe, Christina S, "Sugar sweetened beverage consumption and behavioral correlates in a pilot study of high school students in Austin, Texas" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1515658.