Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Reynolds Morrison

Abstract

ABSTRACT

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE CONSUMPTION OF SUGAR-SWEETENED BEVERAGES AND POOR MENTAL HEALTH AMONG ADULTS IN THE UNITED STATES.

By

ONYANEHI AJUMA UGBABE

APRIL, 2019

INTRODUCTION: Mental health disorders are significant public health problems in the United States due to their association with increased morbidity. Available evidence suggests a relationship between nutritional quality and mental health outcomes. This relationship is in line with emerging evidence that diet is essential in the treatment and management of psychiatric disorders. Diet is directly linked with obesity which in turn is a major risk factor for several chronic diseases, including psychiatric disorders. Given the current obesity epidemic in the US population, it is important to understand how various nutritional behaviors potentially contribute to the burden of mental health disorders in the United States. However, little is known regarding the association between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and the risk of poor mental health in adults 18 years or older.

AIM: To examine the association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage and poor mental health among U.S. adults, and to determine the role of obesity in any potential association between SSB consumption and risk of poor mental health.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data from the 2017 Behavioral Risks Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was used for this study. Poor mental health was based on self-report of diagnosis and symptoms within the past 30 days. SSB intake was quantified as the number of times regular soda, or fruit drinks were consumed within a 30-day period, while obesity status was calculated based on the subject’s measured weight and height. Using multivariable logistic regression, adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for the association between frequency of SSB intake and poor mental health was calculated controlling for age, gender, race and other variables (smoking, physical activity, hypertension, etc.).

RESULTS: Drinking 1 or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day was associated with increased odds of poor mental health (OR= 1.41, 95% CI=1.21-1.63) after adjusting for covariates. The presence of obesity resulted in a similar trend of poor mental health outcomes upon consumption of 1 or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day (OR= 1.42, 95% CI=1.23-1.64)

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: This study indicates that sugar sweetened beverages are associated with poor mental health. A public health message on the detrimental effects of consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may help alleviate the burden of mental health disorders.

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