The FSANZ phone survey of adolescents and young adults in Australia found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were more likely to consume sugar-sweetened soft drinks compared to other Australians (72 per cent versus 50 per cent) and consumed significantly larger amounts (249 ml versus 128 ml per day) (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2003a). The 2004 SPANS survey of children in Years 6–10 in NSW found consumption of soft drinks to be lowest among students of Asian background and highest among boys of Southern European and Middle Eastern background (Booth et al. 2006). Gender
Fewer girls than boys consume soft drink in Australia, and among those that do, girls consume smaller amounts of soft drink than boys (section 2.2). This gender effect has been observed in Europe also. For example, the large WHO collaborative cross-national study of Health Behaviours among School-aged Children 2001–02 showed that girls generally consume less soft drink than boys (Vereecken et al. 2005b). Psycho-Social Factors
3.2.1 Personal Factors
Personal factors appear to moderate the relationship between environmental factors and behaviour. In Norway, personal preferences, i.e. taste, was the number one determinant of soft drink consumption, and attitude was the fourth most important determinant of soft drink consumption in adolescents, with the environmental factors of accessibility and modelling (consumption behaviour of significant others) in between (Bere et al. 2007). Soft drink consumption in school-aged children has been notably correlated with taste preferences in other studies (Grimm et al. 2004). In one study of 8–13 year olds in the US, those who reported the strongest taste preference were 4.5 times more likely to consume soft drinks five or more times per week compared with those with a lower taste preference. A focus group study with groups of children aged 8–9 years and 13–14 years showed that younger children prefer the taste of still, fruit-flavoured drinks and adolescents prefer the taste of carbonated drinks (May and Waterhouse 2003). Attitude and subjective norm (perception of other people’s views and attitudes towards soft drink consumption), together with perceived behavioural control, explained 60 per cent of the variance in intention to drink regular soft drinks in 13–18 year olds in the US (Kassem et al. 2003; Kassem and Lee 2004). However, taste enjoyment was one of the most predictive expected outcome beliefs of regular soft drink consumption. In quenching of thirst was the second most important predictor of attitude, after taste, towards drinking soft drinks — yet soft drinks have been found to be poor at quenching thirst when compared to water (Rolls et al. 1990; Brouns et al. 1998). Parents and friends have been identified as being more influential than peers in the consumption patterns of younger children aged 8–9 years in the UK (May and Waterhouse 2003), although peer groups are considered to play a greater role in adolescence (Buchanan and Coulson 2006). Cost, availability and thirst were more important in older children aged 13–4 years. In the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey 2004 (SPANS) of children aged 5–16 years, peer influences were not particularly apparent in soft drinks attitudes and intended consumption (Booth et al. 2006). Adolescents who perceived more social pressure to limit soft drink consumption were found to be more likely to consume more in the Study on Medical Information and Lifestyle in Eindhoven (SMILE) study in The Netherlands (de Bruijn et al. 2007). The SMILE study also showed that moderate “agreeableness” (a measure of adolescents” willingness to comply with parental practices and rules) of adolescents is associated with less soft drink consumption, however, those that were most “agreeable” consumed a lot (de Bruijn et al. 2007). This was attributed to pressures outside of the home environment — pro-social motives where those most...
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