Time trends in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and related socioeconomic differences among adolescents in Eastern Europe: Signs of a nutrition transition?

Angeline Chatelan, Manon Rouche, Anna Dzielska, Thérésa Lebacq, Anne Siri Fismen, Colette Kelly, Apolinaras Zaborskis, Jaroslava Kopcakova, Anna Tsareva, Michal Kalman, Katia Castetbon

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Background: High intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) contributes to detrimental cardio-metabolic indicators in youth. Monitoring of SSB consumption is lacking in Eastern Europe. Objectives: We assessed trends in the prevalence of adolescent daily consumption of SSBs in 14 Eastern European countries between 2002 and 2018, both overall and according to family material affluence. Methods: We used 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 data of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children school-based study (repeated cross-sectional). Nationally representative samples of adolescents aged 11, 13, and 15 years were included (n = 325,184; 51.2% girls). Adolescents completed a standardized questionnaire, including a question on SSB consumption frequency. We categorized adolescents into 3 socioeconomic groups based on the relative Family Affluence Scale (FAS). Adjusted prevalences of daily SSB consumption by survey year, as well as country-level time trends between 2002 and 2018, were computed using multilevel logistic models (overall and by FAS groups). Results: In 2018, the prevalence of adolescents consuming SSBs every day varied considerably between countries (range, 5.1%-28.1%). Between 2002 and 2018, the prevalence of daily SSB consumption declined in 10/14 countries (P for linear trends ≤ 0.004). The largest reductions were observed in Slovenia (OR, 0.48; 95% CI: 0.45-0.50) and the Russian Federation (OR, 0.67; 95% CI: 0.64-0.70). Daily SSB consumption was reduced at faster rates among the most affluent adolescents (who were larger consumers in 2002) than in the least affluent adolescents in 11/14 countries (P for linear trends ≤ 0.004). Thus, differences between FAS groups narrowed over time or even reversed, leading to larger proportions of daily consumers in the least affluent adolescents in 2018 in 5/14 countries (P ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: Adolescent daily consumption of SSBs decreased between 2002 and 2018 in most Eastern European countries. Declines were larger among higher-affluence adolescents. These results are useful to evaluate and plan interventions promoting healthy childhood diets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1476-1485
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Eastern Europe
  • Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study
  • adolescents
  • family affluence scale
  • health equity
  • socioeconomic inequalities in diet
  • sodas
  • sugar-sweetened beverage
  • trend analysis

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