« Make healthy hydration the new norm »

Understanding attitudes to change to healthier hydration habits

By Dr. Aukje Verhoeven

Recorded on 29/09/2020



About the speaker

Dr. Aukje Verhoeven is a behavioural scientist working in the User eXperience team at Danone Nutricia Research. In her research, one of her most important aims is to explore the motivations and barriers towards healthy drinking and to find solutions to help people to adopt healthier hydration habits. Aukje holds a Ph.D. in health psychology (from Utrecht University, the Netherlands) and previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher and teacher in psychology (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Aukje received an ABC Creative Mind Prize in combination with an ABC Talent Grant in 2015 to support her postdoctoral research, and an EHPS Visiting Scholar Grant in 2013 to facilitate international collaboration for her Ph.D. project. Throughout her carrier, Aukje’s research is focusing on understanding and changing unwanted or unhealthy behavior such as unhealthy drinking and eating habits, and supporting sustainable (plant-based) food choices and recycling behavior. She is committed to continue to apply social sciences to promote behaviour that is good for one’s health and the planet.

About the talk

Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) is associated with overweight, obesity and developing type-2 diabetes. Concurrently, low water intake is also associated with higher risk of developing kidney-related disease (such as chronic kidney disease, urinary tract infections and kidney stones) and with increased levels of biomarkers of metabolic disease. People are encouraged to drink water sufficiently while limiting sugar intake from beverages. One of the countries with the higher intake of SSB is Mexico. Changing unhealthy drinking habits in Mexico is therefore important for the health of this population. However, changing for a healthier behaviour, such as changing unhealthy drinking habits, is complex. Beyond knowledge about its benefits and intentions to act, attitudes also play a crucial role in our behaviour. Attitudes refer to the evaluation one holds about a concept, a person, or a behaviour. They consist of cognitive components (knowledge and beliefs), affective components (feelings and emotions) as well as behavioural components (how it influences the way we act). Attitudes are often the result of past experiences and cultural standards, exerting strong influence over behaviour, therefore, inherently difficult to change. The aim of the presented study is to understand the attitudes of Mexican adults with unhealthy drinking habits: the ‘high sugar-low water drinkers’ (HS-LWD).