Publication Details

Denney-Wilson, E., Crawford, D., Dobbins, T., Hardy, L. & Okely, A. D. (2009). Influences on consumption of soft drinks and fast foods in adolescents. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 18 (3), 447-452.


Soft drink and fast food are energy dense foodstuffs that are heavily marketed to adolescents, and are likely to be important in terms of risk of obesity. This study sought to examine the influences on soft drink and fast food consumption among adolescents as part of a cross-sectional survey of 2,719 adolescents (aged 11-16) from 93 randomly selected schools in New South Wales, Australia. Students provided information on soft drink and fast food consumption, and responded to statements examining influences over consumption. Over half of the boys and more than one third of the girls reported drinking soft drink daily, and consumption peaked in Grade 8 students. A quarter of students reported choosing soft drinks instead of water or milk, and around 40% agreed that soft drink was usually available in their homes. Availability in the home and drinking soft drinks with meals was most strongly associated with consumption in all age groups. Fast food consumption was higher among boys than girls in all age groups. Convenience and value for money yielded the strongest associations with fast food consumption in boys, while preferring fast food to meals at home and preferring to ““upsize”” meals were most strongly associated with consumption in girls. Interventions to reduce consumption of soft drinks should target availability in both the home and school environment by removing soft drinks and replacing them with more nutritive beverages. Fast food outlets should be encouraged to provide a greater range of healthy and competitively priced options in reasonable portions.

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