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To assess trends in consumption of soda, sweetened fruit drinks/sports drinks and any sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) from 2013 to 2016 among all children in California aged 2–5 and 6–11 years and by racial-ethnic group.
Serial cross-sectional study using the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS).
CHIS is a telephone survey of households in California designed to assess population-level estimates of key health behaviours. Previous research using CHIS documented a decrease in SSB consumption among children in California from 2003 to 2009 coinciding with state-level policy efforts targeting child SSB consumption.
Parents of children in California aged 2–11 years (n 4901 in 2013–2014; n 3606 in 2015–2016) were surveyed about the child’s consumption of soda and sweetened fruit drinks/sports drinks on the day prior.
Among 2–5-year-olds, consumption of soda, sweetened fruit drinks/sports drinks and any SSB remained stable. Sweetened fruit drink/sports drink consumption was higher than soda consumption in this age group. Latino 2–5- year-olds were more likely to consume any SSB in both 2013–2014 and 2015–2016 compared with Whites. Among 6–11-year-olds, consumption of soda, sweetened fruit drinks/sports drinks and any SSB also remained stable over time. Latino and African-American 6–11-year-olds were more likely to consume an SSB in 2013–2014 compared with White children.
SSB consumption among children in California was unchanged from 2013 to 2016 and racial-ethnic disparities were evident. Increased policy efforts are needed to further reduce SSB consumption, particularly among children of Latino and African-American backgrounds.
Drinking water instead of beverages with added sugar can help prevent obesity and cavities and promote overall health. Children spend much of their day in school, where they have variable access to drinking water. In 2010, federal and state law required California public schools to provide free potable water to students in areas where meals are served and/or eaten. The current study aims to identify factors associated with an excellent drinking water culture in schools.
A qualitative assessment of barriers and facilitators to providing excellent water quality and access in a purposive sample of California schools. In-depth interviews with key informants were conducted using a snowball sampling approach, after which data were analysed using both inductive and deductive methods.
California public elementary, middle/junior and high schools.
Knowledgeable individuals involved in initiatives related to school drinking water accessibility, quality or education at each selected school.
Thirty-four interviewees participated across fifteen schools. Six themes emerged as prominent facilitators to a school’s success in providing excellent water access to students: active and engaged champions, school culture and policy, coordination between groups, community influences, available resources and environmentalism.
While policy is an important step for achieving minimum standards, resources and interest in promoting excellence in drinking water access and quality can vary among schools. Ensuring that schools have dedicated staff committed to advancing student health and promoting the benefits of water programs that are more salient to schools could help reduce disparities in drinking water excellence across schools.
To evaluate whether a multipronged pilot intervention promoting healthier beverage consumption improved at-home beverage consumption and weight status among young children.
In this exploratory pilot study, we randomly assigned four childcare centres to a control (delayed-intervention) condition or a 12-week intervention that promoted consumption of healthier beverages (water, unsweetened low- or non-fat milk) and discouraged consumption of less-healthy beverages (juice, sugar-sweetened beverages, high-fat or sweetened milk). The multipronged intervention was delivered via childcare centres; simultaneously targeted children, parents and childcare staff; and included environmental changes, policies and education. Outcomes were measured at baseline and immediately post-intervention and included children’s (n 154) at-home beverage consumption (assessed via parental report) and overweight/obese status (assessed via objectively measured height and weight). We estimated intervention impact using difference-in-differences models controlling for children’s demographics and classroom.
Two northern California cities, USA, 2013–2014.
Children aged 2–5 years and their parents.
Relative to control group children, intervention group children reduced their consumption of less-healthy beverages from baseline to follow-up by 5·9 ounces/d (95 % CI −11·2, −0·6) (–174·5 ml/d; 95 % CI –331·2, –17·7) and increased their consumption of healthier beverages by 3·5 ounces/d (95 % CI −2·6, 9·5) (103·5 ml/d; 95 % CI –76·9, 280·9). Children’s likelihood of being overweight decreased by 3 percentage points (pp) in the intervention group and increased by 3 pp in the control group (difference-in-differences: −6 pp; 95 % CI −15, 3).
Our exploratory pilot study suggests that interventions focused comprehensively on encouraging healthier beverage consumption could improve children’s beverage intake and weight. Findings should be confirmed in longer, larger studies.
Ensuring ready access to free drinking-water in schools is an important strategy for prevention of obesity and dental caries, and for improving student learning. Yet to date, there are no validated instruments to examine water access in schools. The present study aimed to develop and validate a survey of school administrators to examine school access to beverages, including water and sports drinks, and school and district-level water-related policies and practices.
Survey validity was measured by comparing results of telephone surveys of school administrators with on-site observations of beverage access and reviews of school policy documents for any references to beverages. The semi-structured telephone survey included items about free drinking-water access (sixty-four items), commonly available competitive beverages (twenty-nine items) and water-related policies and practices (twenty-eight items). Agreement between administrator surveys and observation/document review was calculated using kappa statistics for categorical variables, and Pearson correlation coefficients and t tests for continuous variables.
Public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA.
School administrators (n 24).
Eighty-one per cent of questions related to school beverage access yielded κ values indicating substantial or almost perfect agreement (κ>0·60). However, only one of twenty-eight questions related to drinking-water practices and policies yielded a κ value representing substantial or almost perfect agreement.
This school administrator survey appears reasonably valid for questions related to beverage access, but less valid for questions on water-related practices and policies. This tool provides policy makers, researchers and advocates with a low-cost, efficient method to gather national data on school-level beverage access.
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