UMass Worcester PRC Presentations

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

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Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Carbohydrates | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


Background: Among adolescents, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are the primary source of added dietary sugar and constitute 10-15% of their total caloric intake. A range of factors influence adolescent dietary behaviors and food choices. This study aimed to explore adolescents' attitudes and knowledge about SSBs, how they receive messages about SSBs, and motivations for SSB consumption.

Methods: We conducted 5 focus groups with youth aged 12-14 years that attend one of the eight Youth Connect programs in Worcester, MA in 2016-2017. Groups were sex-specific because of changes during adolescence and experiences with body image and health behaviors between the groups. A semi-structured guide was used to facilitate a discussion with adolescents' around SSBs. The audio recorded data were transcribed and all transcripts were double coded. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Discussions included 16 boys in three focus groups and 17 girls in two groups. Participants were 12-14 years old, 27% identified as Hispanic, 24% black and 33% white. One third speaks more than one language at home and the majority consume SSBs daily. Qualitative analysis led to the identification and classification of various subdimensions under the following analytic categories: Attitudes, Motivations, Knowledge, and SSB Messaging. Common themes that emerge under each category will be reported. Analyses are in progress.

Conclusions: This research will present a deeper understanding of factors that influence Worcester adolescents' beverage choices from their own perspective. The information can be used in public health messaging in Worcester around obesogenic behaviors such as excess caloric intake from SSBs.


sugar-sweetened beverages, adolescents, diet, Youth Connect

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2018 UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Community Engagement and Research Symposium

Journal/Book/Conference Title

2018 UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Community Engagement and Research Symposium