How many sugary beverages an adolescent consumes is influenced far more by the availability of these drinks at home than at school or in the neighborhood, according to a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.
The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, found teens who often or always had sugar-sweetened beverages available at home were about 5.6 times more likely to be heavy daily consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages than peers who never had sugary drinks available at home, regardless of the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in their schools or school neighborhoods.
“Parents still play a major role in shaping their children’s diet through the food and drinks made available at home, even though adolescents spend substantial time in other settings,” says study co-author Dr. Monica Wang, assistant professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. “That can be a very empowering opportunity for parents to improve their children’s diet through small changes.”
The researchers used data on 1,494 participants from the 2014 Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) study of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. For the new study, the researchers looked at sugar-sweetened beverage availability in the home, categorized as “never,” “rarely/sometimes,” or “often/always,” and whether adolescents reported non-daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, daily consumption of fewer than two sugar-sweetened beverages, or heavy daily consumption of two or more sugar-sweetened beverages.
Read more about this study.