MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Smith: Daily sugar-sweetened beverage decreased significantly by about 1 serving per day. Also weekly consumption decreased from an average of over 4 days per week to about 2 ½ days per week. Generally, the teens were drinking the beverages fewer days per week and less servings on the days they did consume them. These changes were maintained on their own for a month after the intervention ended. Water consumption increased nearly 20 percent immediately post intervention and continued to increase at 30 days post-intervention.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Smith: Although our schools had policies regarding students access to vending machines during school hours, nearly 42% of the teens stated that they purchased their sugar-sweetened beverages at the school vending machines. Also, although abstaining from sugar-sweetened beverages was not the focus of the intervention, we had a significant increase of students who completely abstained from sugar-sweetened beverages at both immediately post intervention and again 30 days after the intervention ended. We had a 64% increase of abstainers at the conclusion of the study.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Smith: Student directed efforts to support behavioral change are feasible and effective. Small and manageable changes may lead to net improvements in lifestyle behaviors. The power of peers can be an asset for impacting lifestyle patterns and sustaining those changes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Smith: Future work should study the impact of health outcomes and involve family-based approaches. We had many students share that they had many improvements in their health such as weight loss, skin complexion, energy levels, and general well-being. Also, longer-term follow up is needed. Finally, understanding the support and involvement of family and family members should be better understood.