UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Food Services Healthy Beverage Initiative : In-person Student Survey Maddox, Jessica; Cahill, Erica; Aminian, Sarah; Schwab, Tanya; Kroeker, Mikaela


The UBC Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) was created under the UBC Wellbeing Strategic Framework to encourage drinking tap water and reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) across UBC campuses in an effort to support its population’s collective health and well-being. While many activities, campaigns and projects have since been completed under the HBI, the initiative still reports a lack of robust understanding of the factors driving beverage choice among the UBC population, and identifies improving this understanding as an important factor for informing future strategic planning. The present project therefore set out to improve the understanding of factors contributing to beverage choice among the UBC population. Using the theory of planned behaviour, our approach was centered on exploring the contributing elements of attitude, social norms and perceived behavioural control, and their collective impact on beverage choice. Project outputs included qualitative interviews with 50 members of the UBC population; a visual photo audit of 18 campus locations assessing beverage product offerings; and an observational audit of 180 members of the UBC population on beverage choice across multiple locations and times of day. Key findings from interviews revealed that caffeine, perceived health, and time of day or seasonality were key motivators for beverage choice, while price and accessibility were primary barriers to making less SSB choices. The vast majority (80%) of participants associated unhealthy beverages with higher sugar content. SSBs were available at every location surveyed in the photo audit, with grocery and convenience stores offering the largest selection of SSBs compared to cafes, coffee shops, and residence cafeterias. Lastly, in the observational audit, personal water bottles, hot to-go cups, and Booster Juice or smoothie cups were the most frequently observed beverages on campus. Based on project outputs, an evaluation plan is outlined to assess the effectiveness in achieving project objectives, and recommendations are made for future HBI efforts moving forward. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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