Increasing Water Intake In Lieu of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages among Latino Youth

Investigator: Anisha I. Patel, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Location(s): United States


The overall objective of this proposal is to enhance an existing academic-community partnership that will inform priorities for an intervention to increase intake of tap water in lieu of SSBs among Latino children and adolescents. Drinking water instead of SSBs can reduce children's total daily caloric intake thereby reducing obesity. This issue is of particular significance among Latino youth as they are more likely to drink SSBs and less likely to drink tap water than White and Asian children. To date, few interventions have focused on increasing water intake among children and there have been no interventions that have focused on increasing tap water intake among Latino children. For the past five years, researchers at the University Of California (CA) at San Francisco and the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at Berkeley in conjunction with nutrition advocates at the CA Food Policy Advocates have collaborated to improve drinking water access and intake in CA public schools. During a March 2012 convening, local, state, and national stakeholders prioritized a need for the development and evaluation of school-based interventions that promote intake of tap water instead of SSBs among populations most at risk for obesity. Support from this grant will allow us to build on this recent meeting and augment partnerships with community-based organizations from the CA Central Valley, an agricultural region with a large low-income, Latino population, to address disparities in beverage intake among Latino youth. Community-partnerships are essential to addressing such inequities. Specific activities for the academic-community partnership will include 1) bringing together a group of diverse stakeholders representing broad domains of research, policy, and community, 2) development of a memorandum of understanding to codify the partnership, 3) bimonthly meetings to clarify and delineate stakeholders' priorities for a school-based intervention focused on increasing tap water intake instead of SSBs among Latino children and adolescents, and 4) regular dissemination events to the broader community (i.e., national expert presentations, reports of local research study findings and board progress, case studies of innovative school practices, and methods workshops relevant to the community [e.g., drinking water testing, photovoice]). At the end of the three-year period, the academic-community partnership will produce the following products: development to examine the effect of a school-based intervention to promote tap water intake on obesity among Latino children and adolescents, submission of at least three peer-reviewed manuscripts, and introduction of relevant legislation. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) can reduce childhood obesity. Even though Latino youth are more likely to be obese and to drink SSBs than their non-Latino peers, there is very limited research in this area. Such investigation is critical in designing and implementing interventions and policies to encourage intake of water instead of sugary drinks among Latino children. This conference will help provide direction for research on this topic.