Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in rural Appalachia

Heather Norman-Burgdolf, Emily DeWitt, Kathryn M. Cardarelli, Rachel Gillespie, Stacey Slone, Alison Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is decreasing nationally, yet intakes remain high in certain sub-populations as new varieties of SSBs are introduced. This study aims to expand on SSB intake patterns among adults living in Appalachia to develop policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) interventions to reduce consumption. Baseline cohort surveys were conducted to examine beverage consumption patterns of adults in one rural Appalachian county in Kentucky using a validated BEVQ-15 instrument. Ages were collapsed into three generational groups – Millennials (22–38 years), Generation X (39–54 years), and Boomers/Silents (≥55 years). Over half (n = 81; 54%) of the sample (n = 150) were Boomers/Silents. Age was a significant predictor of SSB consumption, with Millennials drinking more daily calories of SSB compared to older adults (329.2 kcal v 157.0 kcal v 134.6 kcal, p = 0.05); a significant amount of those calories coming from non-soda SSBs. Millennials were twice as likely to drink sweetened fruit juice drinks (p = 0.0002) and energy drinks (p = 0.01) daily and consumed six times more daily calories from sweetened fruit juice drinks than the other groups (73.5 kcal v 11.1 kcal v 8.0 kcal, p < 0.01). To our knowledge, this is the first study to show beverage choices and consumption patterns in Appalachian adults vary by age and non-soda SSBs are significant sources of added sugar. These findings inform PSE interventions for reducing SSB consumption, such as tailored marketing approaches and technology-based strategies, within a unique setting, and offer insight for nutrition educators and public health professionals working within rural, remote communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101642
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Adults
  • Appalachia
  • Community-driven intervention
  • Rural health
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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