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Adolescent energy drink consumption: An Australian perspective

Costa, Beth M., Hayley, Alexa, Miller, Peter
Appetite 2016 v.105 pp. 638-642
Australians, adolescents, adults, children, energy drinks, guidelines, marketing, surveys
Caffeinated Energy Drinks (EDs) are not recommended for consumption by children, yet there is a lack of age-specific recommendations and restrictions on the marketing and sale of EDs. EDs are increasingly popular among adolescents despite growing evidence of their negative health effects. In the current study we examined ED consumption patterns among 399 Australian adolescents aged 12–18 years. Participants completed a self-report survey of consumption patterns, physiological symptoms, and awareness of current ED consumption guidelines. Results indicated that ED consumption was common among the sample; 56% reported lifetime ED consumption, with initial consumption at mean age 10 (SD = 2.97). Twenty-eight percent of the sample consumed EDs at least monthly, 36% had exceeded the recommended two standard EDs/day, and 56% of consumers had experienced negative physiological health effects following ED consumption. The maximum number of EDs/day considered appropriate for children, adolescents, and adults varied, indicating a lack of awareness of current consumption recommendations. These findings add to the growing body of international evidence of adolescent ED consumption, and the detrimental impact of EDs to adolescent health. Enforced regulation and restriction of EDs for children’s and adolescents’ consumption is urgently needed in addition to greater visibility of ED consumption recommendations.