Online Program

Reasons for energy drink consumption among ethnically diverse high school students

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sara Champlin, MA, MEd, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Keryn Pasch, PhD, MPH, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Introduction: Side effects (heart palpitations, headaches, energy crashes – even seizures, death) are associated with energy drink consumption, especially among youth. Despite these outcomes, use remains high among youth, particularly college students. However, little research has explored use among high school aged youth. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to understand reasons behind energy drink use among ethnically diverse high school students.

Methods: 356 upperclassmen enrolled in non-AP history courses at an ethnically diverse high school (77.2% Hispanic, 13.8% African American, 6.4% White, 2.5% other) completed a self-report survey on energy drink consumption. Students were asked to indicate, from a list, their reasons for energy drink consumption.

Results: Energy drink use was highly prevalent with 81.1% reporting ever consuming an energy drink. Among users, the most common reasons for consuming energy drinks were: it tastes good (73.7%), refreshment (59.9%), needing more energy in general (45.8%), and hydration and thirst quenching (38.1%); the least common reasons for energy drink use were: weight management (7.9%), health and nutrition (11.9%), and to skip or replace a meal (13.8%).

Discussion: As compared to research with college age youth who report consuming energy drinks for academic purposes (staying up to complete project), high school students appear to consume energy drinks because they enjoy the taste. However, a large proportion of high school students do report consuming energy drinks for energy. Further evidence is needed regarding how students learn about and begin energy drink use to create prevention programs that address this emerging risky behavior.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify reasons why high school students consume energy drinks Discuss future efforts that aim to reduce high school student energy drink consumption

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Risky Behaviors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The use of energy drinks among youth is one of my key research interests. As a Health Behavior and Health Education doctoral student, I have conducted relevant literature reviews regarding this topic, have written a first-authored manuscript, and been involved with several projects regarding this important issue.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.