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BMC Public Health. 2016 Nov 9;16(1):1150.

Design and methods for a community-based intervention to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among youth: H2GO! study.

Author information

Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, Crosstown Center 4th floor, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.
UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
The Lewin Group, Falls Church, VA, USA.
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, Crosstown Center 4th floor, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.



Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake is an important dietary target among underserved children at high risk for obesity and associated morbidities. Community-based approaches to reduce SSB intake are needed. The use of narrative-based approaches (presenting messages within the context of a story) can facilitate connection with target health messages and empower children as behavior change agents within their families. The H2GO! program is a community-based behavioral intervention that integrates narrative-based strategies to reduce SSB consumption and promote water intake among school-age youth and parents.


Guided by the Social Cognitive Theory and the Social Ecological Model, the H2GO! intervention consists of 6 weekly sessions that target beverage knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors through youth-produced messages and narratives to reduce SSB intake and encourage water intake and parent-child activities. To reach underserved youth and families, we identified Boys & Girls Clubs (B&GC) (youth-based community centers that serve an ethnically diverse and predominantly low socioeconomic status population) as a community partner and study setting. Participants (children ages 9-12 years and their parents) will be recruited from B&GC sites in Massachusetts, USA. Intervention efficacy will be assessed through a site-randomized trial (N = 2 youth-based community sites, pair-matched for size and racial/ethnic composition) with 54 parent-child pairs (N = 108) enrolled per site (N = 216 total). The comparison site will carry on with usual practice. Child and parental SSB and water consumption (primary outcomes) and parent and child beverage knowledge and attitudes (secondary outcomes) will be measured via self-report surveys. Additional outcomes include children's anthropometric data, additional dietary behaviors, and physical activity. Measures will be collected at baseline, 2 and 6 months follow-up. With an estimated 20 % dropout rate, the study will have 80 % power to detect a group difference of 3.9 servings of SSBs per week.


Community-based approaches hold potential for decreasing SSB consumption among youth and families, particularly among underserved populations who are at greater obesity risk. This article describes the design and methods of a community-based behavioral intervention designed to reduce SSB consumption among youth and parents/caregivers.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02890056 . Date of Registration: August 31, 2016.


Childhood obesitys; Community-based intervention; Design; Methods; Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption; Water consumption

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