A critical enquiry of health intervention to regulate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption practices and promote better health choices in Trinidad and Tobago. 

The research of Grantham Scholar Bettina Zenz draws together themes of Sustainability and Critical Public Health, and is specifically interested in the social determinants of health and ‘unhealthy’ diets.

The project

I am a Social Sciences PhD student at the School of Clinical Dentistry. My research focuses on the social determinants of health and high sugar consumption, which are a key area of interest for public health research.

Diets high in sugar are a known risk factor for the development of non-communicable diseases, which have become the leading cause of mortality around the world and are responsible for 41 million (71%) of all global deaths. I am particularly interested in exploring how themes of power and knowledge are communicated through discourses seeking to regulate the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). I explore these issues within the geographical context of Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean island where some of the world’s highest sugar intake rates in the world are recorded, alongside a disproportionately high prevalence of NCDs.

I am using qualitative methods to assess how advice and discourses around sugar consumption are created and mobilised. To do this, I engage with a diverse body of stakeholders who range from industry, policymakers and community-level health care practitioners working ‘on the ground’ with those affected by NCDs.

As part of my research, I have conducted a thorough scoping review which will be submitted for publication soon. This article offers novel and unique insights into trends, gaps and inconsistencies in the current literature on existing policy approaches to population health prevention strategies and sugar consumption.


Free sustainability webinars. Bettina was part of a group who organised the Corrosion: The 2.5 Trillion Dollar Problem webinar. Created as part of our ongoing public engagement, it is on of a playlist of Grantham Scholar webinars available on YouTube.

Bettina Zenz on social media

You can find Bettina on Twitter.


Professor Barry Gibson

School of Clinical Dentistry


Rahul Naidu

University of the West Indies