A Brief Motivational Intervention Differentially Reduces Sugar-sweetened Beverage (SSB) Consumption

Ann Behav Med. 2021 Oct 27;55(11):1116-1129. doi: 10.1093/abm/kaaa123.


Background: Environmental and behavioral interventions hold promise to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSBs) consumption.

Purpose: To test, among frequent SSB consumers, whether motivations to consume SSBs moderated the effects of (a) a workplace SSB sales ban (environmental intervention) alone, and (b) a "brief motivational intervention" (BI) in addition to the sales ban, on changes in SSB consumption.

Methods: We assessed whether (1) baseline motivations to consume SSBs (craving, psychological stress, or taste enjoyment) impacted changes in daily SSB consumption at 6-month follow-up among frequent (>12oz of SSBs/day) SSB consumers (N = 214); (2) participants randomized to the BI (n = 109) versus to the sales ban only (n = 105) reported greater reductions in SSB consumption at follow-up; and (3) motivations to consume SSBs moderated any changes in SSB consumption.

Results: In response to the sales ban alone, individuals with stronger SSB cravings (+1 SD) at baseline showed significantly smaller reductions in daily SSB consumption at 6-month follow-up relative to individuals with weaker (-1 SD) SSB cravings (2.5 oz vs. 22.5 oz), p < .01. Receiving the BI significantly increased reductions for those with stronger SSB cravings: Among individuals with stronger cravings, those who received the BI evidenced significantly greater reductions in daily SSB consumption [M(SE) = -19.2 (2.74) oz] than those who did not [M(SE) = -2.5 (2.3) oz, p < .001], a difference of 16.72 oz.

Conclusions: Frequent SSB consumers with stronger SSB cravings report minimal reductions in daily SSB consumption with a sales ban only, but report greater reductions if they also receive a motivational intervention. Future multilevel interventions for institutions should consider both environmental and individualized multi-level interventions.

Clinical trial information: NCT02585336.

Keywords: Brief intervention; Craving strength; Environmental intervention; Sugar-sweetened beverages.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages
  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages*
  • Workplace

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02585336