Teachers as Healthy Beverage Role Models: Relationship of Student and Teacher Beverage Choices in Elementary Schools

  • Meredith C. LagunaEmail author
  • Amelie A. Hecht
  • Julian Ponce
  • Tyson Jue
  • Claire D. Brindis
  • Anisha I. Patel
Original Paper


Schools are a key setting for curbing student intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). While studies suggest that restrictions on SSBs, increased access to healthier beverages, and education about the importance of drinking water instead of SSBs can promote healthier beverage patterns among students, there is little known about the impact that teachers’ own beverage choices can have on those of their students. Data were drawn from cross-sectional surveys administered as part of a larger evaluation of a drinking water access and promotion intervention in public elementary schools in the San Francisco Bay Area region of California. Descriptive statistics were used to examine teacher (n = 56) and student (n = 1176) self-reported beverage consumption at school. Mixed-effects logistic regression was used to examine associations between teacher and student beverage intake adjusting for clustering of students by teacher. Teachers were also surveyed via open-ended questions about strategies to increase student water consumption at school. Nearly all teachers reported drinking water during the school day (95%), often in front of students. Teacher SSB intake was rare (9%). Students whose teachers drank water in front of their classes were significantly more likely to report drinking water during the school day. Teachers tend to select healthy beverages at work and may serve as role models to encourage student consumption of water instead of SSBs.


Sugar-sweetened beverages Teachers Students School nutrition Drinking water 



Funding from First 5 Santa Clara County; other funding: Dr. Patel was also supported in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number 5K23HD067305-05. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the University of California, San Francisco Committee on Human Research. The Human Subjects Approval Number is 14-14795.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General PediatricsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Policy and ManagementJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.University of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.FIRST 5 Santa Clara CountySan JoseUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Health Policy StudiesUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  6. 6.Division of General PediatricsStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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