Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike S Okosun

Second Advisor

Rodney Lyn


INTRODUCTION: Research has strongly linked increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to obesity/overweight in youth.

AIM: This study aims to: (1) examine SSB consumption rates in high school students nationwide, (2) explore association between SSB consumption and adiposity (overweight/obesity), (3) examine gender, racial/ethnic, and physical activity (PA) status differences in SSB consumption.

METHODS: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)-2015 was employed in this study. Weighted percentages were used to examine differences in SSB consumption and adiposity prevalence by gender, race and PA status. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine association between SSB consumption and adiposity. Adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios and 95% CIs were calculated.

RESULTS: Overall, 20% of students drank sodas daily ≥ 1 times a day and about 14% drank sports drinks daily. More male students consumed both sodas and sports drinks than female students. Soda consumption was largest in the group with zero days PA (25%) and consumption of sports drinks was highest in the daily PA category (24%) than the other categories. Multivariate logistic regression revealed higher odds of obesity among male students as compared to female students (OR=1.7, 95% CI=1.4, 2.1) and among Hispanic students as compared to white students (OR=1.5, 95% CI=1.2, 1.8), after adjusting for all other covariates. Students who engaged in daily PA had lower odds of obesity than those who had no PA (OR=0.6, 95% CI=0.5, 0.8). There was no significant difference in the odds of obesity between those who consumed SSBs and those who did not.

DISCUSSION: This study provides insight into SSB consumption trends in US adolescents by socio- demographic factors and PA status, as well as its association with adiposity. Male gender, certain racial minorities and lack of physical activity can potentially be responsible for greater SSB consumption. Sports drinks consumption is high even in physically active youth. Lack of association between SSB intake and adiposity may be due to the limited SSBs included.