HomeAboutusEditorial BoardCurrent issuearchivesSearch articlesInstructions for authorsSubscription detailsAdvertise

  Login  | Users online: 2226

   Ahead of print articles    Bookmark this page Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font size Increase font size  

 Table of Contents    
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 60-65

Determinants of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among indian adults: Findings from the National Family Health Survey-4

1 Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Gurugram, Haryana; Department of Research, Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Delhi, India
2 Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Gurugram, Haryana, India

Date of Submission21-May-2019
Date of Acceptance11-Nov-2019
Date of Web Publication14-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Vijay Kumar Mishra
Research Scientist, Public Health Foundation of India, Plot No. 47, Sector 44, Institutional Area, Gurugram - 122 002, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_201_19

Rights and Permissions



Background: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are associated with obesity, and various other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The aim of the study was to study the patterns of consumption of SSBs and association of SSB consumption with various socioeconomic factors and fried food consumption. Methodology: We used data of the 4th round of National Family Health Survey. We used multiple logistic regression to estimate the extent of the relationship between consumption of aerated drinks and various predictors. Furthermore, generalized structural equation modeling (GSEM) was used to derive a path diagram that showed a significant linkage between aerated drinks and observed variables. Results: Our study showed a clear association between consumption of aerated drinks with socioeconomic variables age, sex, marital status, and wealth index. The consumption of aerated drinks was also significantly associated with watching television and eating fried foods. Conclusion: Aerated drinks are a popular source of added sugar in the Indian diet. Limiting such factors can prove to be beneficial in reducing their consumption and further help in reducing the burden of NCDs.

Keywords: Aerated drinks, GSEM, India, National Family Health Survey-4, sugar-sweetened beverages

How to cite this article:
Mathur MR, Nagrath D, Malhotra J, Mishra VK. Determinants of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among indian adults: Findings from the National Family Health Survey-4. Indian J Community Med 2020;45:60-5

How to cite this URL:
Mathur MR, Nagrath D, Malhotra J, Mishra VK. Determinants of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among indian adults: Findings from the National Family Health Survey-4. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Jul 6];45:60-5. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2020/45/1/60/275950

   Introduction Top

Sugar is one of the major sources of energy in our diets today. A substantial amount of this sugar is consumed as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).[1] The World Health Organization defines SSBs as “all types of beverages containing free sugars and these include carbonated or noncarbonated soft drinks, fruit/vegetable juices and drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea, ready-to-drink coffee, and flavored milk drinks.”[2] An increase in the consumption of SSBs in our diets is an independent risk factor for obesity[3],[4],[5] and various other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension,[6],[7],[8] cardiovascular diseases,[6] type 2 diabetes,[8],[9],[10] dental erosion, and dental caries.[11],[12]

There are a number of demographic and socioeconomic factors such as age, gender, education, and socioeconomic position associated with the intake of SSBs.[13],[14] SSBs consumption has been reported to be the highest in the age group of 18–39 years. The consumption of SSBs has been reported to decrease with increasing age thereafter.[13],[14],[15],[16] In most of the available literature, men have been found to consume more SSBs in comparison to women.[13],[14],[17] A number of studies have also reported lower educational level associated with higher consumption of SSBs.[13],[16],[18] Similarly, lower socioeconomic position and being unmarried/divorced have also been found to be associated with an increased SSBs intake.[13],[17],[19] Other factors such as watching television for a long duration and consumption of fried foods is associated with an increase in SSB intake and obesity.[20],[21]

The evidence around factors associated with SSB consumption is mainly from high-income countries or countries which have a robust policy controlling the consumption of sugary drinks. Very few studies have assessed the consumption patterns of SSBs across different socioeconomic and demographic groups in low- and middle-income countries like India. There is a paucity of literature looking at various factors that affect the consumption pattern of SSBs among Indian adults. We tried to address this gap in literature using a nationally representative sample of Indian adults from the recently concluded National Family Health Survey Round-4 (NFHS-4) to study the pattern of SSB consumption and to assess the role of various behavioral, demographic, and societal factors that affect the consumption pattern of SSBs among Indian adults. We have also assessed the extent of association by building a predictive model between the consumption of SSBs, socioeconomic factors, and fried food consumption.

   Methodology Top

This study utilizes data from 4th round of NFHS which was conducted in 2015-16. The NFHS is an Indian version of Demographic and Health Survey. NFHS is a large scale periodic national survey conducted by the Government of India to obtain nationwide data on health and family welfare. Twenty-nine Indian states and seven union territories were covered for data collection in NFHS-4. Separate questionnaires were used for men, women, and households. Biomarker details for different disease conditions were also recorded. The data collected for the variables were self-reported. Details of the survey, methods, sampling frame, and questionnaire have been published elsewhere.[22] A total of 699,686 women between the age of 15–49 years and 112,122 men between the ages of 15–54 years participated in the survey, and the overall response rate was 98%.

Outcome and predictor variables

The consumption of sugary aerated drinks was the variable that was included for the first time in the fourth round of NFHS. We have used this as an outcome variable to assess the consumption of SSBs. Participants were asked about their consumption of aerated drinks through their intake frequency which was coded as “daily, weekly, occasionally, or never?” For analysis, we re-categorized the frequency of consumption of aerated drinks into two mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories: respondents reporting drinking aerated drinks (daily, weekly, and occasionally) and respondents reporting not drinking aerated drinks (never).

The predictor variables used were age (categorized into 15–19, 20–29, 30–40, 41, and above years); education (no education, primary, secondary, and higher); religion (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist Jain, and others); wealth index (based on household amenities and the assets owned);[22] current marital status (not married, married, widowed/divorced/separated); and place of residence (urban and rural). The variable for the consumption of fried food was also included in the analysis as it has been reported to be associated with the consumption of aerated drinks. It was asked as “How often do you yourself eat the following food items (fried foods): daily, weekly, occasionally, or never?” The variable (fried foods) was dichotomized in the following two categories: respondents reporting eating fried foods (daily, weekly, and occasionally) or respondents reporting not eating fried foods (never) for the analysis. Exposure to media was also included as a predictor variable. The two questions included in our analysis to assess exposure to media were “Do you read a newspaper or magazine?” and “Do you watch television?” The responses were dichotomized as respondents reporting reading newspaper and watching television (daily, weekly, and occasionally) and respondents reporting not reading newspaper and watching television (never).

Statistical analysis

Univariate analysis was done to calculate the frequency distributions of the continuous and categorical variables for the sample segregated by gender. Bivariate analysis was carried out to explore the difference between the consumption of aerated drinks and the predictor variables using Pearson's Chi-square test at 5% significance level. Multiple logistic regression (MLR) analysis was then used to assess the effect of multiple statistically significant predictor variables (categorical) on a dichotomous outcome variable aerated drinks (1 = drinking aerated drinks and 0 = not drinking aerated drinks).

We further applied generalized structured equation models (GSEMs) to make a path diagram using aerated drink as the latent variable (unobserved) and socioeconomic variables (observed). Since the latent variable was dichotomous in nature, errors were assumed to follow a “Bernoulli distribution” and the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) GLM link function was used as the “logit.” We used GSEM to fit a standard logistic regression which is equivalent to the logit model of the GLM framework. All statistical analyses were performed using STATA (Stata Corp LLC, version: 13.0).

   Results Top

Descriptive statistics of the respondents

The NFHS-4 has 699,686 women and 103,525 men as respondents with a mean age of 29.8 and 32, respectively. A majority of the women participants (70.7%) belonged to the rural areas. A greater part of the sample has completed secondary education (48% women and 58% men) exposure to print media like newspaper/magazine was found to be less among women (12%) than men (28.6%). More than half (56.5%) women and men (57.3%) watch television daily. Females (50%) consumed more fried foods than males occasionally (46.3%) in the study sample.

About 6.4% – men and 4.9% – women reported daily intake of aerated drinks; almost one-fourth (24% – men and 19% – women) reported weekly consumption of aerated drinks and (13.7% – men and 16.5% – women) in the age group of 15–19 years (6.9%) of adolescents were found to drink aerated drinks daily [Table 1]. Around (30%) males with higher education and (27%) females consumed aerated drinks on a weekly basis. Similarly, weekly consumption of aerated drinks was more among people belonging to a higher wealth index. Unmarried males also showed a higher frequency of consuming aerated drinks than females [Table 1]. Aerated drinks were consumed more by those who read newspaper/magazine and watched newspaper/TV daily. The consumption of aerated drinks was also higher among the people who ate fried foods on weekly basis [Table 2].
Table 1: The percentage distribution of males and females by the frequency of consumption of aerated drinks and socioeconomic characteristics

Click here to view
Table 2: Results of Chi-square test of association between outcome and predictors

Click here to view

Factors associated with consumption of aerated drinks

Results of MLRs revealed that socioeconomic factors, exposure to media, and intake of fried foods are associated with consumption of aerated drinks. Respondents who ate fried foods were seven times more likely to consume aerated drinks than those who did not (odds ratio confidence interval [OR-CI], 6.81 [6.67–6.96]) [Table 3]. Adolescents in the age group of 15–19 years were around 1.7 times more likely to consume aerated drinks than adults 40 years and above (OR-CI, 1.67 [1.63–1.72]). Males consume a significantly higher amount of aerated drinks than females(OR-CI, 1.33 [1. 30–1.36]). People living in urban areas were more likely to consume aerated drinks than those from rural areas(OR-CI, 1.06 [1.04–1.08]). Respondents with higher education were significantly more likely to consume aerated drinks as compared to illiterates (OR-CI, 1.05 [1.02–1.08]). Unmarried persons were more likely to consume aerated drinks than married(OR-CI, 1.22 [1.19–1.25]) while widowed/divorced/separated were less likely to take aerated drinks than married (OR-CI, 0.86 [0.84–0.89]). People belonging to higher socioeconomic status were three times more likely to consume aerated drinks than lower class (OR-CI, 3.23 [3.15–3.32]). People who watch television were more likely to consume aerated drinks than who do not (OR-CI, 1.44 [1.41–1.46]).
Table 3: Results of multiple logistic regression showing factors associated with the consumption of aerated drinks

Click here to view

GSEM-based path diagram revealing the linkage of aerated drinks with observed variables

We used generalized structural equations modeling (GSEM) as it combines the features of both structural equations model (SEM) and GLM in unified ways. GSEM provides a reliable estimate, as the use of latent variable minimizes the impact of errors inherent in the logistic model. Furthermore, GSEM is suitable when latent variable (“consumption of aerated drinks” in this case) is of dichotomous nature. In our analysis, GSEM was performed to derive a high precision estimate that contained high predictive ability. For our analyses, we included “aerated drinks” as an unobserved variable. We treated socioeconomic variables (age, sex, education, marital status, and wealth index), exposure to mass media (newspaper/magazine and television), and consumption of fried foods as observed variables. The path diagram illustrates a linkage of the latent variable (aerated drinks) with different observed variables created through this modeling. This path diagram further strengthened the direct linkage between observed and unobserved variables [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Generalized structured equation model-based path diagram derived from multiple logistic regression

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

In this study, we analyzed a large-scale population-based, nationally representative cross-sectional data to understand the pattern of aerated drinks consumption and associated covariates in India. Our findings established a clear association between sociodemographic and economic factors with the consumption of aerated drinks. Adolescents (15–19 years) were found to be the highest consumers with a significant association between consumption of fried foods, media (print media and television), and aerated drinks consumption.

A complexity of factors can be attributed to our study findings. There have been a number of studies from high and low middle-income countries which shows an association among those who watch television at an early age with an increased consumption of fried foods, sugary drinks, and snacks but a lower intake of fruit and vegetables.[21],[23],[24] The current snacking behavior can also be explained by the fact that the snacks are easily accessible and easy to cook as compared to regular food items. This ease of availability can trigger snacking behavior among those from higher socioeconomic background. An increased SSBs consumption has also been reported in association with higher intake of discretionary food in adults.[25] Similar findings have been observed in children and adolescents.[21],[26] An influencing factor associated with the consumption of aerated drinks can be television viewing and screen time. Advertisements and programs featuring “role model s” in the television and movie house can promote the use of aerated drinks and enhance poor eating habits.[23],[24],[27],[28],[29],[30] Falbe et al. found that an increase in total screen time was associated with an increased consumption of foods and beverages of low nutritional quality.[31] However, on the other hand, mass media when applied to raising awareness has proved to be favorable by reducing the consumption and sales of SSBs.[32],[33]

This is the first of its kind study using a nationally representative study sample, which allows comparisons of SSBs consumption between men and women in an adult population. The study also has its strength in the usage of GSEM. It has the advantage of measuring model errors of the predictor variables and the overall fit of the models. In comparison to the regression model, GSEMs has an advantage for analyzing complex cause-effect relationship patterns. Another advantage of GSEM is that the model can be developed further to include more factors if the analysis provides evidence for further research. However, the study has some limitations. Being a cross-sectional study, causal associations cannot be established. Psychosocial factors that are likely to influence eating behavior were not taken into consideration. There can be concealment of the correct information as the data are self- reported, especially in rural areas where there is lack of awareness and low educational status. The study definition used for aerated drinks was not known.

   Conclusion Top

The above findings show that aerated drinks are a popular source of added sugar in the Indian diet. Limiting such factors can prove to be beneficial in reducing their consumption and further help in reducing the burden of NCDs. Future studies should look at behavior change interventions aimed at reducing the consumption of sugary drinks by influencing the socio-ecological environment of an individual.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

World Health Organization. Guideline Sugars Intake for Adults and Children. World Health Organization; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 1
World Health Organization. Taxes on sugary drinks: Why do it? World Health Organization; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ruanpeng D, Thongprayoon C, Cheungpasitporn W, Harindhanavudhi T. Sugar and artificially sweetened beverages linked to obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. QJM 2017;110:513-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
Gulati S, Misra A. Sugar intake, obesity, and diabetes in India. Nutrients 2014;6:5955-74.  Back to cited text no. 4
Pereira MA. Sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages in relation to obesity risk. Adv Nutr 2014;5:797-808.  Back to cited text no. 5
Xi B, Huang Y, Reilly KH, Li S, Zheng R, Barrio-Lopez MT, et al. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of hypertension and CVD: A dose-response meta-analysis. Br J Nutr 2015;113:709-17.  Back to cited text no. 6
Jayalath VH, de Souza RJ, Ha V, Mirrahimi A, Blanco-Mejia S, Di Buono M, et al. Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and incident hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102:914-21.  Back to cited text no. 7
Cheungpasitporn W, Thongprayoon C, Edmonds PJ, Srivali N, Ungprasert P, Kittanamongkolchai W, et al. Sugar and artificially sweetened soda consumption linked to hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Exp Hypertens 2015;37:587-93.  Back to cited text no. 8
Bellou V, Belbasis L, Tzoulaki I, Evangelou E. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus: An exposure-wide umbrella review of meta-analyses. PLoS One 2018;13:e0194127.  Back to cited text no. 9
Basu S, Vellakkal S, Agrawal S, Stuckler D, Popkin B, Ebrahim S. Averting obesity and type 2 diabetes in India through sugar-sweetened beverage taxation: An economic-epidemiologic modeling study. PLoS Med 2014;11:e1001582.  Back to cited text no. 10
Cheng R, Yang H, Shao MY, Hu T, Zhou XD. Dental erosion and severe tooth decay related to soft drinks: A case report and literature review. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B 2009;10:395-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bernabé E, Vehkalahti MM, Sheiham A, Aromaa A, Suominen AL. Sugar-sweetened beverages and dental caries in adults: A 4-year prospective study. J Dent 2014;42:952-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
Mendy VL, Vargas R, Payton M, Cannon-Smith G. Association between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sociodemographic characteristics among Mississippi adults. Prev Chronic Dis 2017;14:E137.  Back to cited text no. 13
Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadeh S, Shi P, Lim S, Andrews KG, et al. Global, regional, and national consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, and milk: A systematic assessment of beverage intake in 187 countries. PLoS One 2015;10:e0124845.  Back to cited text no. 14
Kristal RB, Blank AE, Wylie-Rosett J, Selwyn PA. Factors associated with daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among adult patients at four federally qualified health centers, Bronx, New York, 2013. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:E02.  Back to cited text no. 15
White AH, James SA, Paulson SW, Beebe LA. Sugar sweetened beverage consumption among adults with children in the home. Front Nutr 2018;5:34.  Back to cited text no. 16
Barrett P, Imamura F, Brage S, Griffin SJ, Wareham NJ, Forouhi NG. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and behavioural factors associated with consumption of sweetened beverages among adults in cambridgeshire, UK: The fenland study. Public Health Nutr 2017;20:2766-77.  Back to cited text no. 17
Bolt-Evensen K, Vik FN, Stea TH, Klepp KI, Bere E. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages from childhood to adulthood in relation to socioeconomic status – 15 years follow-up in Norway. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2018;15:8.  Back to cited text no. 18
Henriksen RE, Torsheim T, Thuen F. Loneliness, social integration and consumption of sugar-containing beverages: Testing the social baseline theory. PLoS One 2014;9:e104421.  Back to cited text no. 19
DeBoer MD, Scharf RJ, Demmer RT. Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in 2- to 5-year-old children. Pediatrics 2013;132:413-20.  Back to cited text no. 20
Ranjit N, Evans MH, Byrd-Williams C, Evans AE, Hoelscher DM. Dietary and activity correlates of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents. Pediatrics 2010;126:e754-61.  Back to cited text no. 21
Measure DHS. Demographic Health Surveys Comparative Reports: The DHS Wealth Infex. Vol. 6; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 22
Barr-Anderson DJ, Larson NI, Nelson MC, Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M. Does television viewing predict dietary intake five years later in high school students and young adults? Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2009;6:7.  Back to cited text no. 23
Giammattei J, Blix G, Marshak HH, Wollitzer AO, Pettitt DJ. Television watching and soft drink consumption: Associations with obesity in 11- to 13-year-old schoolchildren. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2003;157:882-6.  Back to cited text no. 24
An R. Beverage consumption in relation to discretionary food intake and diet quality among US adults, 2003 to 2012. J Acad Nutr Diet 2016;116:28-37.  Back to cited text no. 25
Mathias KC, Slining MM, Popkin BM. Foods and beverages associated with higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Am J Prev Med 2013;44:351-7.  Back to cited text no. 26
Powell LM, Wada R, Khan T, Emery SL. Food and beverage television advertising exposure and youth consumption, body mass index and adiposity outcomes. Can J Econ 2017;50:345-64.  Back to cited text no. 27
Sisson SB, Shay CM, Broyles ST, Leyva M. Television-viewing time and dietary quality among U.S. Children and adults. Am J Prev Med 2012;43:196-200.  Back to cited text no. 28
Raynor HA, Steeves EA, Bassett DR Jr., Thompson DL, Gorin AA, Bond DS. Reducing TV watching during adult obesity treatment: Two pilot randomized controlled trials. Behav Ther 2013;44:674-85.  Back to cited text no. 29
Sonneville KR, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman KP, Gortmaker SL, Gillman MW, Taveras EM. Associations of obesogenic behaviors in mothers and obese children participating in a randomized trial. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012;20:1449-54.  Back to cited text no. 30
Falbe J, Willett WC, Rosner B, Gortmaker SL, Sonneville KR, Field AE. Longitudinal relations of television, electronic games, and digital versatile discs with changes in diet in adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;100:1173-81.  Back to cited text no. 31
Farley TA, Halper HS, Carlin AM, Emmerson KM, Foster KN, Fertig AR. Mass media campaign to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in a rural area of the United States. Am J Public Health 2017;107:989-95.  Back to cited text no. 32
Kharbanda OP, Moynihan P, Priya H, Ivaturi A, Gupta A, Haldane D. Report from a symposium on accelerating policy-driven action against excessive sugar consumption for the prevention of early childhood caries and noncommunicable diseases. Indian J Public Health 2018;62:305-7.  Back to cited text no. 33
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


Print this article  Email this article


    Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
  Related articles
    Article in PDF (519 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded191    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal

  Sitemap | What's New | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice
  2007 - Indian Journal of Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
  Online since 15th September, 2007