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School Soft Drink Availability and Consumption Among U.S. Secondary Students

      Background

      Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) such as soft drinks has been associated with significantly increased energy intake and body weight. One strategy used to reduce soft drink consumption among adolescents has been reducing availability in schools; however, research is limited on associations between availability of soft drinks in school and student consumption.

      Purpose

      This study examines associations between regular and diet soft drink availability in schools and student consumption using data from 329 secondary schools and 9284 students.

      Methods

      Data were obtained from two sources: (1) nationally representative cross-sectional samples of students in Grades 8, 10, and 12 from U.S. public and private schools in 2010 and 2011 in the Monitoring the Future study and (2) administrators of the same schools in the Youth, Education, and Society study. Multilevel modeling conducted in 2012 examined associations between school availability and student consumption controlling for student sociodemographics and school characteristics.

      Results

      In the total sample of more than 9000 students, regular and diet soft drink availability in school was not related to student consumption of these beverages in multivariate models. Yet, among African-American high school students, school regular and diet soft drink availability was significantly related to higher daily consumption (both before and after controlling for student and school factors).

      Conclusions

      Although removal of soft drinks from schools may not result in significantly lower overall student consumption, such actions may result in significant decreases in soft drink consumption for specific student groups.
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