Beverage industry capitalizing on countries with fewer health regulations
Further, students attending public schools lacked access to free drinking water during school.
"Schools represent an important area of influence for adolescents," said Katelyn Godin, lead author on the paper and a PhD candidate at Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems.
"With limited access to clean drinking water and the very visible presence of the beverage industry in schools, it’s clear that being in an environment that encourages students to purchase unhealthy sugar-sweetened beverages has an impact on behaviour."
They also face higher rates of obesity, undernutrition and chronic illness than people in wealthier countries.
"The presence of the sugar-sweetened beverage industry in Guatemalan schools suggests that the beverage industry is capitalizing on countries that have fewer enforced regulations to protect youth than places like Canada to access a key subgroup of impressionable consumers," said Godin.
In Canada provincial policies restrict the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages for sale in schools and limit the presence of marketing from the food and beverage industry.
The researchers also found that unlike public schools, the Guatemalan private schools they studied all had free, clean drinking water available to students through water coolers.
Private school students consumed sweetened beverages half as often as their public-school peers.
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