Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Factors associated with frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among Australian secondary school students (#32)

Maree Scully 1 , Belinda Morley 1 , Philippa Niven 1 , Melanie Wakefield 1
  1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Background: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are energy-dense and offer no nutritional benefits and their consumption is associated with overweight and obesity; however, they are commonly consumed by adolescents.  

Aim: To examine demographic and behavioural correlates of frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among Australian secondary school students, and explore whether students’ beliefs about these drinks, and the availability of these drinks at school, are associated with their consumption.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 8,888 students in Years 8 to 11 (aged 12-17 years) who completed the National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity survey in 2012-13. Students’ self-reported eating, physical activity and sedentary behaviours were assessed using validated instruments administered via an online questionnaire.

Results: Around one-in-five students (22%) reported consuming at least four cups of sugar-sweetened beverages per week (“frequent SSB consumers”). A multivariable logistic regression model tested the association between frequent consumption of SSBs and demographic and behavioural factors. After adjusting for all covariates, males, low socio-economic position students and those with more weekly spending money had higher odds of being frequent SSB consumers. Frequent SSB consumption also clustered with other poor dietary behaviours (low fruit and vegetable intake; high fast food and snack food consumption), and was associated with higher television viewing and short sleep duration. Additional multivariable logistic regression models, controlling for demographic characteristics, found positive associations between frequent SSB consumption and the availability of these drinks in the home and at school, and student perceptions that they are convenient to buy and good value for money.

Conclusion: Identifying factors related to frequent sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among Australian adolescents will enable interventions to be targeted where they are likely to have most impact. The findings of this study have the potential to assist in advocacy efforts and inform policy with regard to the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in school settings.