Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 55
Background School food standards in England restrict the provision of beverages in schools; nevertheless there are a wide range of compliant beverages available for students to choose from. Beverages play a substantial role in adolescents' diets, and understanding beverage preferences within a school environment is vital.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine adolescents' beverage choice in a school environment, and to explore the relationship between adolescents' preferences and their age.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, beverage choice data for adolescents aged 11-18 years (n=1206) were collected from a large school in England, for a complete academic year. Descriptive analysis followed by Chi-square tests were performed on the beverage choice data.
Results: Of a total of 70,107 beverages selected in the school canteen, juice-based drinks were the most popular category (35.3% of beverages), followed by milk-based drinks (32.3%), water (19.4 %), pure juice (5.4 %), hot drinks (4.4%) and plain milk (3.2%). The youngest students (Year 7, age 11-12 years) were the most prolific in selecting beverages and accounted for 37.9% of beverages chosen. Beverage selection varied with age, Χ2(6, n=1206) = 1216. 81, p < 0.001, φc = 0.08 and younger students were significantly more likely (p < 0.001) to select a beverage. There was also a significant association between age and beverage category, Χ2(30, n=1095) = 9219.57, p < 0.001, φc = 0.16. Younger adolescents were more likely to select juice-based drinks compared to older (Year 7, age 11-12 years, 45.9%; Year 13, age 17-18 years, 11.4%), and with increasing age, there was a significant change (p < 0.001) in selecting water (Year 7, age 11-12 years, 13.4%; Year 13, age 17-18 years, 35.3%).
Conclusions: Adolescents' beverage preferences within a school environment change with age. Further research to investigate the change in water selection in particular, is recommended. These findings inform public health initiatives and point to age-differentiated strategies.
Lecturer in Nutrition
University of Leeds
Leeds, England, United Kingdom