Adolescents report low opposition towards policy options to reduce consumption of sugary drinks

Caroline Louise Miller, Joanne Dono, Maree Scully, Belinda Morley, Kerry Ettridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Policy makers benefit from insight into consumer perceptions of potential sugary drink policy measures. Adolescents are among the highest consumers in Australia, yet their perceptions are unknown. Objectives: To determine adolescents' perceptions of potential policies aimed at reducing sugary drink consumption and explore variation in perceptions. Methods: Data were collected via a nationally representative survey of Australian secondary school students (aged 12-17) using a stratified two-stage probability design (n = 9102). Survey questions assessed receptiveness to five policy options, sugary drink consumption, perceptions of health effects and demographics. Results: Low proportions (13%-29%) were somewhat/strongly against policy options, 35% to 45% were neutral, and 27% to 52% were somewhat/strongly in favour. Highest support was observed for text warning labels on sugary drinks (52%), followed by tax with investment in healthy weight programmes (43%), standalone tax (36%), restricting school sales (30%) and restricting advertising to children (27%). Sex, sugary drink consumption and perceptions were significantly associated with most assessed policy options in bivariate analyses (P <.01). Significant associations between sex and consumption with selected policy options persisted in adjusted multilevel models. Conclusions: Opposition towards policy options was low overall and neutrality was common. This creates opportunity for early intervention to increase public support for addressing specific health issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12775
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2021


  • adolescents' perceptions
  • policy options
  • sugar tax
  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • sugary drinks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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