Individual, social and environmental determinants of sugar-sweetened beverages intake in Mexico

  • Ana Gabriela Ortega-Avila

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Background: Obesity is a major public health issue in Mexico. Recent evidence has emphasised that high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is important for weight gain. There is a lack of information about the factors that influence SSB consumption in Mexico.

Objective: To identify high SSB consumers in Mexico and assess their individual, social, and micro-environmental predictors of SSB intake.

Data and methods: 1) A quantitative secondary analysis of a representative sample of the Mexican population was conducted to assess the demographic/socio-economic profile of different types of SSB consumers. 2) An online questionnaire was administered in a sample of Mexican adolescents to assess the role of individual, social and micro-environmental factors in SSB intake. 3) Qualitative interviews were conducted among adolescents to elicit in-depth information about their SSB intake at the home and out-of-home environments, and their perception of the SSB taxation.

Results: Compared to other groups, Mexican adolescents had higher odds of being heavy SSB drinkers. The online survey indicated that habit strength, taste, home and school availability were important predictors of adolescent SSB intake. Interviews suggested that taste, beliefs of healthfulness of some SSBs, the importance of accompanying meals with SSBs, and family norms promoted availability and consequently intake of SSBs. School availability of SSBs, social relationships and activities, and proximity to minimarkets/shops were perceived to play a decisive role in promoting SSB intake. Adolescents were largely unaware of the tax and perceived that it would not affect their SSB intake, mainly due to low price increases, taste preferences and ‘addiction’ to SSBs.

Conclusion: Adolescents are the highest SSB consumers in Mexico and a variety of individual, social and physical environmental factors were associated with their SSB intake that should be tackled by future interventions. These findings provide important insights to planning to reduce SSB intake in Mexican adolescents.
Date of Award23 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorRussell Jago (Supervisor) & Angeliki Papadaki (Supervisor)

Cite this