University of Ghana Ghana
Title: Knowledge, practice and perception of taking soft drinks with meal and the metabolic effects on High school students
Linda Fabea, a 22year old graduate from University of Ghana, department of Nutrition and Food Science. I am currently a research and teaching assistant at the department of Nutrition and Food science, University of Ghana under the direct supervision of Dr. Frederick Vuvor. I have coauthored few articles however, two have been published recently. Also, I have made one presentation at the 3rd National Food Hygiene, safety and sanitation conference held in Ghana. I am aspiring to be a renowned research scientist and a medical doctor.
Statement of Problem: Soft drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain carbon dioxide, sweeteners and various functional agents. Studies have revealed that too much soft drink consumption in adolescents have been associated with high risk of overweight, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. This study sought to assess the knowledge, practice and perception of taking soft drinks with meal among students of Junior High School. Methodology & Theoretical orientation: The study involved 273 students aged between 10-16 years old. WHO Step-wise questionnaire was modified to gather all data. Association between the knowledge, practice, body mass index (BMI) and metabolic effects were determined. Findings: About 1 out of every 4 students (22.2%) had no knowledge that sugar was the major constituent in most soft drinks. About 58.4% of the students were aware of health implications of taking soft drinks with meal and about 46.5% of them mentioned an increase in body weight as an implication of taking soft drinks. About 30.3% of the students were undernourished, 51.0% were of normal weight, while 18.6% were overweight. On the average JHS students take soft drinks with meal at least once in a week. They perceived the practice to be unhealthy and they practice it because it is nice. Conclusion & significance: Majority of the adolescents have some knowledge on the negative health effects of the practice (consuming soft drinks along with meal), but this did not deter them. However, the prevalence of overweight/obese was unacceptably high. This calls for immediate in-depth research across the world as well as the development of interventions to end this practice since the supposed reason for the practice has been disproved.