Promoting water consumption on a Caribbean island: An intervention using children's social networks at schools

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Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and the associated childhood obesity are major concerns in the Caribbean, creating a need for interventions promoting water consumption as a healthy alternative. A social network-based intervention (SNI) was tested among Aruban children to increase their water consumption and behavioral intention to do so and, consequently, to decrease SSB consumption and the associated behavioral intention. In this study, the moderating effects of descriptive and injunctive norms were tested. A cluster randomized controlled trial was completed in schools (mean age = 11 years ± SD = 0.98; 54% girls). Children were assigned to the intervention group (IG; n = 192) or control group (CG; n = 185). IG children were exposed to peer influencers promoting water consumption and CG children were not. Regression analyses showed that water consumption increased for IG children with a high injunctive norm score (p = 0.05); however, their intention to consume more water remained unchanged (p = 0.42). Moreover, IG children showed a decrease in SSB consumption (p = 0.04) and an increase in their intention to consume less SSB (p = 0.00). These findings indicate that SNIs are a promising instrument for health behavioral changes for Aruba and other islands in the Caribbean region.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article number713
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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