Almost 60% of young people and adolescents have consumed energy drinks at some point

Almost 60% of young people and adolescents have consumed energy drinks at some point. This is the conclusion reached by a group of researchers from the University of Oviedo after analyzing almost two hundred studies on the distribution of this type of drink. The researchers describe “particularly worrying” consumption among the younger population and propose the implementation of legislative measures aimed at reducing its availability and accessibility. The research has just been published in the journal Seekswith maximum impact in your area of ​​knowledge.

The researchers, who belong to the Addictive Behavior Group (GCA) of the Department of Psychology of the University of Oviedo, emphasize that despite the high familiarity of these drinks in our daily lives and in practically all countries of the world, so far no study has become global distribution of its consumption, which also took into account other variables such as the geographical area or the age group of consumers. According to the authors of the work, these two variables are crucial because the legal regulation The use of these drinks varies from country to country and the effects of their consumption are more harmful in certain age groups, such as children or adolescents.

This situation led this research group to conduct a meta-analysis on the prevalence of consumption of Energy drinks. This type of statistical analysis makes it possible to summarize the results of different studies and draw conclusions from them. Searching for articles from two databases, a total of 192 studies were found that provided information on the prevalence of energy drink consumption. The study therefore included a total sample of more than one million people with an average age of 18, of whom just over half were men.

The results show that 55% of the population have consumed energy drinks at some point in their lives, 43% in the last 12 months, 32% in the last 30 days, 22% in the last seven days and 9% consume them daily. Subgroup analyzes were performed taking into account the continental region of the studies and the age group to which the studied sample belonged.

Our study concludes that energy drink consumption is high worldwide

Andrea Krotter Díaz, member of the Addictive Behaviors Group

The results show that Africa is the continent that recorded the highest consumption in the last week (64%), followed by Asia (26%), Oceania (23%), North America (22%), Europe (16%) and Central and South America (11%). In terms of age groups, the results show that 12% of children (under 12 years of age) had consumed energy drinks in the last week, 20% of adolescents, 26% of young adults and 14% of adults.

“Our study concludes that consumption of energy drinks is high worldwide. “This consumption is particularly worrying among the youngest, since almost 60% of adolescents and young people have already consumed it,” he emphasizes. Andrea Krotter Diaz, member of the Addictive Behavior Group of the University of Oviedo. At the same time, “our work shows how important it is to regularly monitor trends in the consumption of energy drinks in order to prevent problematic consumption, for example very frequent consumption or consumption mixed with alcohol,” the researcher adds.

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“We also propose various measures that could significantly reduce these consumption prevalences, such as: B. a price increase, set a legal minimum age“The consumption of drinks, the promotion of transparency about the ingredients of the drinks and their possible side effects or the restriction of advertising,” emphasizes Krotter.

150 new products every year

The authors of the work explain that although there is no uniform definition, we understand energy drinks or energizers to be those non-alcoholic drinks that contain caffeine, taurine, vitamins and a combination of other ingredients that offer the consumer an increase in performance and increase energy. Energy. It is estimated that its presence in the market has increased exponentially in recent times More than 150 new brands come onto the market every year.

Studies have shown that behind this promise of instant energy and improved performance lie significant physical and mental health issues.

Gema Aonso Diego, Doctor of Psychology at the University of Oviedo

“Even in recent years, studies have shown that behind this promise of instant energy and improved performance lie significant physical and mental health issues,” he says. Gema Aonso Diego, Doctor of Psychology at the University of Oviedo and currently a researcher at the University of Deusto. The high caffeine content, often combined with sugar and other stimulants such as guarana, can have negative effects on the cardiovascular system (high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias), the digestive system (nausea), the endocrine system (diabetes) and mental health (anxiety). have , depression, insomnia).

A dangerous cocktail: energy drinks and alcohol

One of the most dangerous practices related to energy drinks that researchers warn against is combining them with alcoholic beverages. “This mixture is particularly dangerous because energy drinks.” Masking the effects of alcohol poisoning B. lack of motor coordination, reaction times or sleepiness, and create a false sense of control,” says Ángel García Pérez, researcher at the Addictive Behavior Group at the University of Oviedo.

“This leads to higher alcohol consumption, a greater likelihood of overdose, and a greater likelihood of adverse consequences (traffic accidents, risky sexual practices). In addition, the combination of these two substances can have a long-term effect harmful effects on the liver (cirrhosis, fatty liver) as well Cardiovascular problems (arrhythmias),” adds this researcher.

The Xunta de Galicia has published a draft law that aims to regulate the advertising of energy drinks and ban the sale and consumption of these drinks by minors

The authors of the work remind that the consumption of energy drinks and their legal regulation are not excluded from controversy within and outside our country. Recently the Xunta de Galicia has published a bill that would regulate the advertising of energy drinks and ban their sale and consumption by minors. A dozen autonomous communities in our country have joined this debate. Energy drink manufacturers are now using various marketing strategies to increase consumption, particularly among younger people, by promoting their products at sporting events or on online entertainment platforms, which are now widely used by young people.

Reference:

Aonso-Diego, G., Krotter, A. & García-Pérez, Á. (2023). Prevalence of energy drink consumption worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Seeks. Advance online publication.

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