Consumption Patterns of Energy Drinks in Portuguese Adolescents from A City in Northern Portugal

Albino Martins, Carmo Ferreira, Dinis Sousa, Sandra Costa

Abstract


Introduction: Energy drinks are youth-targeted beverages that contain high amounts of caffeine and other stimulants. A number of deleterious health effects associated with consumption of these drinks have already been reported. Despite the health concerns, energy drinks research has been sparse, especially at younger ages. The main purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of energy drinks consumption and patterns of use among adolescents.
Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study of students aged between 11 – 17 years-old attending four public schools in Braga, cluster sampled. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to access sociodemographic data, self-reported academic performance as well as energy drinks consumption patterns, attitudes, awareness and associated symptoms.
Results: In a total of 1414 adolescents studied (mean age 15.1 ± 1.5 years; 53.9% were females), 56.7% reported to have used energy drinks at least once (62.5% in males; 52.1% in females). Of those, 34% described a regular consumption (at least once a month) and 14.1% a weekly consumption. The most common reasons for energy drinks consumption were the pleasant taste (49%), desire to increase global energy (35%) or sports performance (33%). On average, energy drinks users were older compared with non-users. Energy drinks consumption was associated with male gender and with self-reported worse academic performance. Approximately onethird experienced at least one symptom after consumption. In addition, 39.9% of energy drinks consumers reported mixing those with alcohol.
Discussion: Consumption of energy drinks has been increasing. The prevalence found for its consumption in this study is similar to that reported in the literature. Knowledge about motivation, general awareness of the risks or other variables related to consumption of these drinks might allow a better characterization of this behavior.
Conclusion: This study showed a high prevalence of energy drinks consumption among adolescents from a city in Northern Portugal, with self-reported symptoms after consumption and common concomitant use of alcohol.


Keywords


Adolescent; Energy Drinks; Portugal



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