Need for Specific Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Lessons for Fourth- and Fifth-Graders

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Abstract

Objective:

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) is linked to obesity. The authors hypothesized that school-based nutrition education would decrease SSB consumption.

Design:

Self-selected interventional cohort with random selection for pre and post measurements.

Setting:

Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education Program–eligible schools.

Participants:

Randomly selected (9%) fourth- and fifth-grade classroom students.

Intervention:

The University of Arizona Nutrition Network provided general nutrition education training and materials to teachers, to be delivered to their students. The University of Arizona Nutrition Network administered behavioral questionnaires to students in both fall and spring.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Change in SSB consumption.

Analyses:

Descriptive statistics were computed for student demographics and beverage consumption on the day before testing. Paired t tests evaluated change in classroom averages. Linear regression assessed potential correlates of SSB consumption.

Results:

Fall mean SSB consumption was 1.1 (± 0.2) times; mean milk and water intake were 1.6 (± 0.2) and 5.2 (± 0.7) times, respectively. Beverage consumption increased (3.2%) in springtime, with increased SSBs (14.4%) accounting for the majority (P = .006). Change in SSB consumption was negatively associated with baseline SSB and water consumption but positively associated with baseline milk fat (P ≤ .05).

Conclusions and Implications:

The results suggest the need for beverage-specific education to encourage children to consume more healthful beverages in warmer weather.

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