Formative Research to Design a Promotional Campaign to Increase Drinking Water among Central American Latino Youth in an Urban Area

J Health Commun. 2017 Jun;22(6):459-468. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2017.1303557. Epub 2017 Apr 20.


Latinos consume more sugary drinks and less water than other demographic groups. Our objective was to understand beverage choice motivations and test promotional concepts that can encourage Central American Latino urban youth to drink more water. Two rounds of focus group discussions were conducted (n = 10 focus groups, 61 participants, 6-18 years old). Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using inductive and deductive coding approaches. Youth motivations for drinking water were shaped by level of thirst, weather, energy, and perceptions of health benefits. Youth were discouraged from drinking water due to its taste and perceptions of the safety and cleanliness of tap water. Youth beverage preference depended on what their friends were drinking. Availability of water versus other beverages at home and other settings influenced their choice. Promotional materials that included mixed language, informative messages about the benefits of drinking water, and celebrities or athletes who were active, energized, and drinking water were preferred. A promotional campaign to increase water consumption among these Latino youth should include bicultural messages to underscore the power of water to quench true thirst, highlight the health benefits of drinking water, and address the safety of tap water.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Beverages
  • Central America / ethnology
  • Child
  • Choice Behavior
  • Consumer Behavior
  • District of Columbia
  • Drinking Water / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Research Design
  • Urban Population* / statistics & numerical data


  • Drinking Water