The Development and Evaluation of the Healthy Beverage Index for U.S. Children and Adolescents

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Virginia Tech


Childhood (ages 2-9 years) and adolescence (ages 10-19 years) make up important periods of human life. Food preferences and dietary behaviors are developing during this time, and health status can impact noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk in adulthood. Many of the behaviors associated with developing NCD are modifiable and include dietary behaviors. Globally, children and adolescents are impacted by NCD, and obesity prevalence is growing among this population. One of the recommendations for combating obesity is to promote the consumption of healthy foods and beverages and the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverage intake. In order to assess beverage patterns, the Healthy Beverage Index (HBI) was created for adults. This tool provides a score from 0-100, with higher scores indicating better adherence to evidence-based beverage recommendations. Because many beverage recommendations for children and adolescents differ from those for adults, the purpose of this thesis was to develop the HBI for U.S. Children and Adolescents (HBI-CA). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data was used to calculate HBI-CA scores among a sample of U.S. children and adolescents. The HBI-CA resulted in scores similar to the adult HBI and provides a reference of beverage pattern quality in this population. Significant differences in scores were found among males and females and certain races. Evaluation of the HBI-CA demonstrated its construct validity and reliability. The HBI-CA still needs to undergo predictive validity tests. Overall, the HBI-CA provides a method to assess beverage pattern quality in clinical, public health, and research settings for this important population.



Dietary patterns, dietary assessment methods, beverage consumption