Keywords: Saudi Arabia, school-aged girls, soft drink consumption, soft drinks, school children, taste preferences, parental soft drink consumption, soft drink availability, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, nutrition, public health
Factors associated with soft drink consumption in school-aged girls in Saudi Arabia
This study aimed to identify factors associated with soft drink consumption in school-aged girls in Saudi Arabia. The data for this cross-sectional study were collected by a team from the girls' school health services as a part of the health campaign that was organised by Ministry of Education. The survey included questions about the frequency of soft drink consumption and factors related to soft drink consumption. The total number of school children responded was 1,408 students, their age ranged from 12 up to 16 years. Children from intermediate girls' schools in Jeddah City (including north, east, south and west) were selected to represent the different social settings of the city. Preference for the taste of soft drinks was the strongest predictor in the analysis, with those who reported the strongest taste preference 32.9 times more likely (95% confidence interval, 12.50-86.50). School children whose parents drank soft drinks were 1.45 times more likely (95% confidence interval, 0.96-2.20). The availability of soft drink at home was significantly associated with its consumption, relative risk 2.66 (95% CI = 2.3-3.05) and parents' soft drink intake was also associated with school children's soft drink consumption, relative risk 2.3 (95% CI, 1.79-2.99). Results suggest that several factors may be associated with soft drink intake in school-aged girls, most notably taste preferences, soft drink consumption habits of parents and soft drink availability in the home. Additional research is needed to verify these findings in a representative sample of children.