Parental and Home Environmental Facilitators of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Overweight and Obese Latino Youth



      To explore parental and home environmental facilitators of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and water consumption among obese/overweight Latino youth.


      Semistructured interviews were conducted with 55 overweight/obese Latino youth aged 10 to 18 and 55 parents, recruited from school-based clinics and a school in one West Coast district. All youth consumed SSBs regularly and lived in a home where SSBs were available. We used qualitative methods to examine key themes around beliefs about SSBs and water, facilitators of SSB and water consumption, and barriers to reducing SSB consumption.


      A few parents and youth believed that sports drinks are healthy. Although nearly all thought that water is healthy, most parents and about half of youth thought that tap water is unsafe. About half of parent–child dyads had discordant beliefs regarding their perceptions of tap water. About half of parents believed that homemade culturally relevant drinks (eg, aguas frescas), which typically contain sugar, fruit, and water, were healthy because of their “natural” ingredients. Participants cited home availability as a key factor in SSB consumption. About half of parents set no rules about SSB consumption at home. Among those with rules, most parent–child pairs differed on their beliefs about the content of the rules, and youth reported few consequences for breaking rules.


      Obesity programs for Latino youth should address misconceptions around water and should discuss culturally relevant drinks and sports drinks as potential sources of weight gain. Health care providers can help parents set appropriate rules by educating about the risks of keeping SSBs at home.


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