soft drinks; obesity; adolescents; body mass index; dietary intake; nutrition; physical activity; pedometers
Objective: To determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and soft drink consumption among adolescents. It is hypothesized that soft drink consumption contributes to overweight and obesity among adolescents. p Background: Research examining the relationship between body mass index and soft drink consumption is inconsistent. Several studies have found a negative association between total sugar intake and BMI; however, others have found a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and obesity. There are no known studies that have controlled for physical activity. p Data and Methods: Data on approximately 225 adolescents were used. Frequency of soft drink consumption, type of milk, and calcium intake were assessed using the Youth and Adolescent Questionnaire (YAQ). Body Mass Index was calculated from height and weight measurements and adjusted for age. Physical activity levels were assessed using data recorded from the My Life Stepper 2515 digital pedometer. Age, birthday, grade, sex, and ethnicity were reported on the consent form. p Results: When treated as a categorical variable, soft drink consumption was a marginal predictor of adjusted BMI (p = 0.0802). The relationship between soft drink consumption and adjusted BMI is not linear and does not follow a monotonic trend. Other variables found to significantly influence BMI were type of milk, total step mean, and calcium. p Discussion and Conclusions: The results of this study conclude that soft drink consumption is related to BMI among adolescents. This relationship is marginally significant; it is significant at the 0.10 level but not at the 0.05 level. Those who were in the highest soft drink consumption category had a higher mean BMI than those in the other soft drink consumption categories. Soft drink consumption, type of milk, total step mean, and calcium together predict about 10% of the variability in BMI.