Adults Who Order Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Sociodemographics and Meal Patterns at Fast Food Chains

Glen B. Taksler, Kamila Kiszko, Courtney Abrams, Brian Elbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Approximately 30% of adults consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) daily, many at fast food restaurants. Researchers examined fast food purchases to better understand which consumers order SSBs, particularly large SSBs. Methods Fast food customers in New York City and New Jersey provided receipts and participated in a survey during 2013–2014 (N=11,614). Logistic regression analyses predicted three outcomes: ordering no beverage or a non-SSB, a small/medium SSB, or a large SSB. Among respondents who ordered a beverage (n=3,775), additional analyses predicted number of beverage calories and odds of ordering an SSB. Covariates included demographic and behavioral factors. Results Respondents aged 18–29 years were 88% more likely to order a large SSB than a non-SSB or no beverage, as compared with respondents aged ≥50 years (p<0.001). Among respondents who purchased a beverage, respondents ordered more beverage calories with a large combination meal (+85.13 kcal, p=0.001) or if the restaurant had a large cup size >30 ounces (+36.07 kcal, p=0.001). Hispanic and Asian respondents were less likely to order a large SSB (AOR=0.49 and 0.52, respectively, both p≤0.026) than non-Hispanic white respondents. Odds of ordering a large SSB were higher for respondents who ate in the restaurant (AOR=1.66, p<0.001) or stated that they chose beverage based on price (AOR=2.02, p<0.001). Conclusions Young adults and customers of restaurants with a larger cup size were more likely to purchase SSBs, and their beverage calories increased with meal size. Increased understanding of these factors is an important step toward limiting unhealthy SSB consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-897
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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