Energy drinks linked to teen health risks

March 6, 2014 by Nick Manning
Energy drinks linked to teen health risks

(Medical Xpress)—The uplifting effects of energy drinks are well advertised, but a new report finds consumption among teenagers may be linked with poor mental health and substance use.

Researchers are calling for limits on teen's access to the drinks and reduction in the amount of the caffeine in each can.

The paper by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Dalhousie University, published in Preventive Medicine, found that high school students prone to depression as well as those who are smoke marijuana or drink alcohol are more likely to consume than their peers.

"While it remains unclear why these associations exist, the trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption among teenagers," said Sunday Azagba, a researcher at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo and lead author on the paper. "These drinks appeal to young people because of their temporary benefits like increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy."

Among the 8210 students surveyed, nearly two thirds reported using energy drinks at least once in the past year, with more than 20 percent consuming them once or more per month. Younger were more likely to consume energy drinks than older ones.

"Marketing campaigns appear designed to entice youth and young adults," said Azagba. "It's a dangerous combination, especially for those at an increased risk for substance abuse."

Energy drinks have been associated with a number of , including cardiovascular symptoms, sleep impairment and nervousness and nausea. The side effects are caused by the beverages' high concentration of caffeine.

"Given the negative effects of excessive caffeine consumption as well as the coincident occurrence of the use of energy drinks and other negative behaviors in teens, the trends we are seeing are more than cause for concern," said Azagba.

In recent years energy drink sales have skyrocketed, with sales forecasted to reach $20 billion in 2013 in the United States alone.

"In our opinion, at the very least steps should be taken to limit teens' access to energy drinks, to increase public awareness and education about the potential harms of these drinks and to minimize the amount of caffeine available in each unit," said Azagba. "This won't eliminate the problem entirely, but steps like these can help mitigate harm to our youth that appears to be associated with consumption of these drinks. This is something we need to take seriously. Change won't happen without a concerted effort."

Explore further: Teens who consume energy drinks more likely to use alcohol and drugs

More information: Sunday Azagba, Donald Langille, Mark Asbridge, "An emerging adolescent health risk: Caffeinated energy drink consumption patterns among high school students," Preventive Medicine, Volume 62, May 2014, Pages 54-59, ISSN 0091-7435, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.01.019.

Related Stories

Teens who consume energy drinks more likely to use alcohol and drugs

February 4, 2014
Nearly one-third of US adolescents consume high-caffeine energy drinks or "shots," and these teens report higher rates of alcohol, cigarette, or drug use, reports a study in the January/February Journal of Addiction Medicine, ...

Caffeine common in US kids, youths; mainly soda

February 10, 2014
Nearly 3 out of 4 U.S. children and young adults consume at least some caffeine, mostly from soda, tea and coffee. The rate didn't budge much over a decade, although soda use declined and energy drinks became an increasingly ...

Energy drinks plus alcohol pose a public health threat

December 2, 2013
Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is riskier than just drinking alcohol alone, according to a new study that examines the impact of a growing trend among young adults.

Cardiac MRI reveals energy drinks alter heart function

December 2, 2013
Healthy adults who consumed energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine had significantly increased heart contraction rates one hour later, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society ...

Can energy drinks improve the physical and mental performance of cyclists?

March 11, 2013
Consumption of energy drinks containing caffeine may have beneficial effects on exercise but probably not for mental function. The effects of pre-exercise caffeine consumption by trained cyclists on racing times and cognitive ...

Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in the fight against cancer

February 26, 2014
The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine—restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping—are well known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. ...

Recommended for you

State-level disclosure laws affect patients' eagerness to have their DNA tested

December 12, 2017
Different types of privacy laws in U.S. states produce markedly different effects on the willingness of patients to have genetic testing done, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT professor.

Babies born during famine have lower cognition in midlife

December 12, 2017
Hunger and malnutrition in infancy may lead to poor cognitive performance in midlife, according to a new study.

'Man flu' may be real

December 11, 2017
The much-debated phenomenon of "man flu" may have some basis in fact, suggests an article published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Full moon linked to increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes

December 11, 2017
The full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, finds a study in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Social media trends can predict tipping points in vaccine scares

December 11, 2017
Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Study suggests being proud may protect against falls in older people

December 11, 2017
Contrary to the old saying "pride comes before a fall", the opposite appears to be true, according to a study published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.