Poster Topical Area: Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 432

P10-032 - Children’s Perceptions of the Importance of Limiting Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Strategies for Controlling Intake

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


To describe children's thoughts related to sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and their strategies for controlling intake.


School-aged children (ages 6 to 11 years) in 3 states (FL, NJ, WV) completed surveys (n=197) and participated in SSB-themed focus groups conducted by trained moderators (n=44). Two trained researchers continuously monitored data to identify the point of data saturation and coded data to detect themes and trends.


Surveyed children reported drinking SSBs 2.47±2.44SD times/week. Focus group discussions revealed the SSBs kids most commonly drank were soda, sports drinks, lemonade, and fruit drinks. Kids were more likely to drink soda only on weekends or at special events, while they drank sports and juice drinks more often. Kids thought it was important to limit SSBs to prevent cavities, diabetes, and feeling "sick". Kids also cited the importance of drinking water for hydration, but few mentioned calories or weight gain. Kids preferred the taste of SSBs over other beverages which made it hard for them to limit their intake. Kids relied on their parents to help them control intake by limiting the number of SSBs kids were allowed, not purchasing SSBs, and buying alternatives like diet soda and water. Kids felt parents could get kids to drink fewer SSBs by talking to their kids about the negative health consequences of drinking too many SSBs and rewarding children for having healthy drinks. Kids also felt they could play a role in helping their families drink fewer SSBs by telling family members that SSBs are unhealthy and encouraging them to drink milk or water instead. Kids agreed that they mimicked their parents' beverage choices and wanted to drink whatever their parents had. Kids recognized that their own beverage choices influenced what family members, particularly siblings, drank. Some kids reported encouraging their siblings to select healthier beverages.


Elementary school-age kids are aware of several negative health consequences associated with SSB intake, but not the potential negative effects on weight. Children relied on parents to help them limit SSBs. Future nutrition interventions should help parents understand how they affect kids' SSB intake through modeling behaviors and setting limits.

Funding Source:

United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Grant Number 2017-680001-26351

CoAuthors: Kaitlyn Eck – Rutgers university; Alek Dinesen – Rutgers University; Colleen Delaney – Rutgers university; Karla Shelnutt – University of Florida; Melissa Olfert – West Virginia University; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner – Rutgers University

Kaitlyn Eck

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey