Changes in Sugary Beverage Consumption and Public Perceptions in Upstate New York After Implementation of a Community Awareness Campaign and Healthier Vending Strategies
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the impact of a community-based healthy beverage procurement and serving practices program, and educational media campaign, on residents’ behaviors and beliefs regarding sugary beverages.
DESIGN: Repeated cross-sectional population surveys in 2013 and 2014 were conducted, as well as semistructured interviews with key informants. We employed multivariate differences-in-differences regression analysis, adjusting for demographics and weight status, using the survey data. Key informant interviews were reviewed for common themes.
SETTING: Three rural counties in upstate New York with high prevalence of children living in poverty and childhood obesity.
PARTICIPANTS: Residents of Broome, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua, with Chemung as a control, reached through cross-sectional random-digit-dial landline and cellular telephones, and practitioners involved in intervention implementation.
INTERVENTION: Community organizations were encouraged through presentations to leadership to adopt healthier vending policies, providing more low- and no-sugar options, and were provided assistance with implementation. In addition, a media campaign supported by presentations to the public aimed to educate residents regarding the health consequences of sugary beverage consumption.
OUTCOME MEASURES: The survey measured population demographics and sugary beverage consumption frequency, availability, beliefs about harmfulness, and support for regulation, pre- and postintervention. Key informant interviews elicited perceived program challenges and successes.
RESULTS: Compared with temporal trends in the control county, availability of regular soda in the intervention counties decreased (differences-in-differences estimator: beta = -.341, P = .04) and support for regulation increased (differences-in-differences estimator: beta = .162, P = .02). However, there were no differences regarding beliefs about harmfulness or consumption. Practitioners confirmed that the intervention increased awareness but was insufficient to spur action.
CONCLUSION: Although public education on the harmfulness of sugary beverages and provision of healthier options in some vending machines successfully impacted soda availability and support for regulation, it did not reduce consumption. This intervention seems promising but should be paired with other community-based interventions for a more comprehensive approach.
Durant, D. J., Lowenfels, A., Ren, J., Brissette, I., & Martin, E. G. (2020). Changes in Sugary Beverage Consumption and Public Perceptions in Upstate New York After Implementation of a Community Awareness Campaign and Healthier Vending Strategies. J Public Health Manag Pract, 26(4), E11-e19. doi:10.1097/phh.0000000000000725