Who drinks sugar sweetened beverages and juice? An Australian population study of behaviour, awareness and attitudes

Caroline Miller, Melanie Wakefield, Annette Braunack-Mayer, David Roder, Kerin O'Dea, Kerry Ettridge, Joanne Dono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The rate of overweight and obesity in Australia is among the highest in the world. Yet Australia lags other countries in developing comprehensive educative or regulatory responses to address sugary drink consumption, a key modifiable risk factor that contributes substantial excess sugar to the diet. Measurement of sugary drink consumption is typically sporadic and nutrition focussed and there is limited knowledge of community perceptions and awareness of the health risks associated with excess sugary drink consumption. The aim of this study was to assess the demographic characteristics, behavioural risk factors and attitudes and knowledge associated with sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and 100% fruit juice consumption. Methods: A face-to-face household survey was conducted in 2014 using a stratified random sampling strategy to represent the South Australian population aged 15 years and over. The survey contained questions on sugary drinks, with past week SSB consumption and 100% fruit juice consumption used as outcome variables. Associations were examined with demographic characteristics, behavioural risk factors, and sugary drink attitudes and knowledge. Results: Of the 2732 respondents, 35% had consumed SSBs 1-6 times (moderate consumers) and 16% had consumed SSBs 7 or more times (frequent consumers) in the past week. Furthermore, 35% had consumed 100% fruit juice in the past week, with 10% consuming every day. Rates of SSB consumption were consistently higher among males, younger age groups, and groups with lower education attainment, as well as smokers and frequent consumers of fast food. Awareness of health risks and sugar content of SSBs was low, especially among frequent SSB consumers. Fruit juice consumption was higher among males, younger age groups, the physically active and among those believing that 100% fruit juice did not contain more sugar than SSBs. Conclusions: Consumption of SSBs and 100% fruit juice is common but awareness of health risks and sugar content of these drinks is low. There is a need for greater consumer understanding which could be achieved through educative approaches such as public education campaigns, on-package warning labels and improved nutrition information panels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalBMC Obesity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 3 Jan 2019


  • 100% fruit juice
  • Attitudes
  • Awareness
  • Knowledge
  • Population survey
  • Risk factors
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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