Patterns of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption amongst young people aged 13–15 years during the school day in Scotland

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There is currently little research regarding sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption patterns of young people though adolescents are thought to be frequent consumers of these drinks. There is no research regarding the other foods and drinks consumed alongside SSBs by young people. The aim of this paper is to explore the patterns of SSB purchase and consumption amongst young people aged 13–15 years.


A purchasing recall questionnaire (PRQ) was administered online in seven case study schools with 535 young people aged 13–15 years. Nutrient composition (kilocalories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar) was also calculated for food/drink purchases. Chi-Square and Wilcoxon-Mann Whitney tests were conducted to examine patterns of SSB consumption and sugar/kilocalories consumption for SSB consumers and non-consumers.


SSB consumers were significantly more likely to consume a drink at mid-morning break. Fewer consumed food at mid-morning break, ate food before school or ate food at lunchtime, but this was not statistically significant. A higher percentage of SSB consumers consumed ‘unhealthy’ food and drinks in comparison to young people who did not consume a SSB. Both median lunchtime sugar consumption (40.7 g vs 10.2 g) and median sugar as a percentage of Kcals (39% vs 14%) were significantly higher for SSB purchasers in comparison to non-purchasers.


The analysis highlights that SSB purchasers consume significantly more sugar at lunchtime than non-purchasers. However, both purchasers and non-purchasers exceeded WHO (2015) recommendations that sugar consumption be halved to form no more than 5% of daily energy intake. This study provides new insights for public health stakeholders and schools. Multifaceted and inventive strategies relevant to young people will be required to WHO recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-2014
Number of pages19
Early online date4 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • energy drinks
  • sugar
  • young people
  • consumption
  • food and drink purchasing


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