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In recent years, communities and institutions have sought new interventions intended to reduce sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption among children. Among these interventions are “SSB-free zones,” where such beverages are not permitted to be consumed on the premises. Insufficient knowledge still exists, however, about the readiness for such restrictive SSB policies within health care institutions. Understanding attitudes toward SSB consumption among adults is necessary to guide an institution-wide policy, where staff and patients serve as role models for parents and their children. We conducted focus groups with health center patients and staff to determine perceptions surrounding health and SSB consumption and to better understand the support and readiness (or lack thereof) for an SSB-free zone intervention prior to its implementation. We found that contextual practices present challenges to breaking personal consumption habits, even if beverages are banned from the worksite. Nevertheless, participants expressed support for SSB-free zones, and recommended more education about the harmful effects of soda and energy drink consumption to help improve acceptability for the policy. We conclude that policies restricting onsite SSB consumption may be more effective when combined with educational information and expressions of understanding that this specific behavior change can be difficult.


This article was originally published in PLoS ONE, available at pone.0215127.

This work was distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).



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