Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trying to explain educational differences in consumption of sugary drinks

One of the possibly most important correlates and determinants of nutrition behaviour is socio-economic background. Again and again it is found that people from lower socio-economic status, as indicated by level of education, income, job status or other factors, are, for example, more likely to be overweight and eat poorer diets. Such differences are already found among children and adolescents. In a recent paper published in Public Health Nutrition, we explored mediators of gender and educational differences in sugarsweetened soft drinks consumption (SDC) and we investigated whether gender and level of future education moderate the associations of accessibility, modelling, attitudes and preferences with SDC. We were able to use data from 2870 children in 9th and 10th grade from more than thirty secondary schools in Norway.
As expected, girls and pupils planning higher education reported to drink SDC less often than boys and pupils going to higher levels of education. The differences according to future education plans were mediated by accessibility and modelling: thus children who were planning to go to higher education had lower accesibility to sugary drinks and were less likely to be exposed to peer models that drank lots of sugary drinks.

The joint Australian-New Zealand Nutrion Societies meeting

Last week I presented the results of the ENERGY study on childhood overweight and obesity and prevention of childhood overweight and obesity across Europe, at the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand nutrition societies. The meeting's theme was 'Lean and Green' with a focus on obesity as well as on sustainable food and nutrition. My keynote presentation was linked to the 'Lean' theme, while Prof. Tim Lang talked about the link with sustainability - via a web-video presentation. The meeting was much like similar meetings in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe, with similar presentations, studies and discussions, and even sponsors (e.g. similar to such events in the Netherlands, the Dairy industry was the main sponsor of the meeting).