The school environment and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among Guatemalan adolescents

Public Health Nutr. 2017 Nov;20(16):2980-2987. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017001926. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


Objective: The current study sought to examine Guatemalan adolescents' consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), identify which individual-level characteristics are associated with SSB consumption and describe school characteristics that may influence students' SSB consumption.

Design: Within this observational pilot study, a questionnaire was used to assess students' consumption of three varieties of SSB (soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffees/teas), as well as a variety of sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics. We collected built environment data to examine aspects of the school food environment. We developed Poisson regression models for each SSB variety and used descriptive analyses to characterize the sample.

Setting: Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Subjects: Guatemalan adolescents (n 1042) from four (two public, two private) secondary schools.

Results: Built environment data revealed that students from the two public schools lacked access to water fountains/coolers. The SSB industry had a presence in the schools through advertisements, sponsored food kiosks and products available for sale. Common correlates of SSB consumption included school type, sedentary behaviour, frequency of purchasing lunch in the cafeteria, and frequency of purchasing snacks from vending machines in school and off school property.

Conclusions: Guatemalan adolescents frequently consume SSB, which may be encouraged by aspects of the school environment. Schools represent a viable setting for equitable population health interventions designed to reduce SSB consumption, including increasing access to clean drinking-water, reducing access to SSB, restricting SSB marketing and greater enforcement of existing food policies.

Keywords: Latin America; Nutrition policy; School health; Sugar-sweetened beverages.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena* / ethnology
  • Advertising
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Beverages / economics
  • Dietary Sugars / adverse effects*
  • Drinking Water
  • Female
  • Food Services
  • Guatemala / epidemiology
  • Health Transition
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / ethnology
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk
  • Schools*
  • Self Report
  • Snacks / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Dietary Sugars
  • Drinking Water