Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Clinical and Population Health Research


Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Stephenie Lemon, PhD


adolescents, obesity, sugar sweetened beverages, parenting, home environment


Background: Sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) comprise the largest source of added sugars in US adolescents’ diets. SSB consumption is pervasive in US culture and is a critical risk factor for weight gain and obesity in adolescents. This thesis evaluates multi-level factors that influence adolescent SSB consumption.

Methods: The first two aims of this thesis utilized data from the cross sectional, internet based Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health and Eating (FLASHE) study to: 1) examine availability of SSBs in multiple settings (home, school, neighborhood) and adolescent SSB consumption, 2) examine the associations between perceptions of parenting practices and adolescent SSB consumption. The third aim used focus group discussions to understand adolescents’ perceptions about SSBs.

Results: We found that SSB availability in the home was an important predictor of adolescent SSB consumption, regardless of SSB availability in other settings. Also, parenting practices that facilitate adolescent SSB consumption are associated with higher adolescent SSB consumption, but discussing/negotiating SSB behaviors is not associated with adolescent SSB consumption. Adolescents’ described their attitudes, reinforcements, knowledge, and sources of influence around SSBs which are multifactorial and complex.

Conclusions: This thesis identified potential targets for addressing adolescent SSB consumption through availability of SSBs at home, parenting practices, and adolescent perceptions around SSBs. These are important modifiable factors in the adolescents’ sociocultural environment that should be targeted in future dietary interventions to influence adolescent SBB consumption.



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