Peer pressure works best on kids reducing soft drinks
Are you finding it difficult to persuade your kids from gulping too many cans of soft drink in a day? Do not worry, as a team of researchers now seems to have found a way to cutting back on sugary drinks by teenagers.
The solution lies in training a few teenagers on adverse affects of sugary drinks and helping them create peer pressure on other kids to avoid such drinks, the researchers found.
"With the right guidance and support, teenagers are powerful influencers. We might as well use peer pressure to our advantage," said Laureen Smith, an associate professor of nursing at Ohio State University, US.
The researchers also found that cutting back on sugary drinks could also lead to increase in water consumption.
"The students' water consumption before the intervention was lousy. But we saw a big improvement in that," Smith said.
Researchers designed the 'Sodabriety' challenge for the study. The challenge was an effort to confront the largest source of added sugar in the US diet - sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and flavoured milk and coffee.
Students were tapped to establish teenage advisory councils whose members led the interventions at two high schools.
They designed marketing campaigns, planned school assemblies and shared a fact per day about sugar-sweetened drinks over the morning announcements.
The primary message to their peers: Try to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages for 30 days.
Students opted not to promote eliminating these drinks entirely during the challenge.
Overall, participating teens did lower their intake of sugary drinks, and the percentage of youths who abstained from drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increased from 7.2 percent to 11.8 percent of the participants. The percentage was sustained for 30 days after the intervention ended.
The study appeared in the Journal of School Health.
(Posted on 27-03-2014)