Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): The Hispanic population has the highest consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in the U.S., which is connected to poor health outcomes, such as higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
Objective: To explore personal, social, cultural and environmental factors influencing SSB consumption in the Hispanic/Latino population utilizing the socio-ecological model.
Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: Grounded Theory utilizing structured focus groups to explore contributing factors associated with SSB consumption. Focus groups were conducted within community centers and local universities. Adults age 18 and older were recruited from Hispanic/Latino organizations using flyers and key personnel.
Outcome Measures and Analysis: Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed; data were coded independently by two researchers; codes were compared and organized into categories. Categories were organized within the socio-ecological model. Connections among categories were extracted and themes emerged.
Results: Thirty-four foreign- and native-born men and women identifying as Hispanic participated in five focus groups. Participants identified negative health effects of SSB intake and discussed strategies utilized to decrease consumption, such as substitution and cognitive restraint. However, strong personal, societal and cultural norms were barriers to decreasing or ceasing consumption. Participants connected their Hispanic identity and certain feelings of comfort to SSBs. Furthermore, SSBs were highly available and accessible and were a common element of both childhood and current social events and daily activities.
Conclusions and Implications: Societal and cultural norms may be strong influencers to continued SSB consumption within the target population. Individual and population-based interventions should address these norms when developing interventions to decrease SSB consumption in this population.
Funding: Miami University College of Education, Health and Society.