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  • National Drinking Water Alliance

Assessing Beverage Intake in Children and Adolescents: what is the best method for your study?

Promoting healthy beverage intake, particularly among children and adolescents, has emerged in recent years as a policy and research priority. Because different dietary assessment methods are subject to specific and unique limitations that could influence study findings, it is important to understand what assessment methods are available, what properties they have, and what methods are typically used in the scientific literature. A new report, “Measuring Beverage Intake in Children and Adolescents: State of the Science, Recommendations, and Resources for Evaluation,” and a forthcoming systematic review begin to address these issues. The report provides guidance on using five main types of assessment methods for measuring beverage intake, including a description of how to implement the method, recommendations for use, and advantages and limitations.

The systematic review, “Measuring beverage consumption in US children and adolescents: A systematic review,” (Obesity Reviews, in press) describes the state-of-the-science in measuring children's beverage intake and points toward future research needs in this area. Improved measurement techniques will help establish whether progress is being made toward ensuring that all children in the U.S. have healthy beverage consumption habits. Given the important role that beverage intake plays in a range of children’s health and developmental outcomes, researchers and practitioners from a variety of areas should be invested in developing and applying thoughtful measurement techniques for assessing children’s beverage consumption.

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