Energy drinks (EDs) are a controversial new product group aggressively marketed to young adults (YAs). Their consumption is increasing globally yet there is limited research on the intake, awareness of the content and influencing factors towards ED consumption in this age group (18-26 year-olds).
The study was a cross-sectional survey on a sample of 26 participants aged 18-26. The participants were recruited via opportunistic sampling and included both sexes and different levels of education. A self-administered questionnaire was used to explore the consumption, knowledge and influencing factors on ED consumption.
Only 19% of participants (n=5) were habitual consumers and 58% (n=15) reported to be non-consumers of EDs. The average volume drunk on a typical day was 387ml. There was a statistical difference between higher educational attainment and low or abstinence of ED consumption (p=0.036). However, no association was found between gender and ED consumption (p=0.262). 35%, 62% and 3% of participants had low, intermediate and high levels of knowledge of EDs, respectively. No significance was found between gender nor higher education and knowledge of EDs (p=0.608 and p=0.135, respectively). The most frequently identified influencing factors were taste (65%), energy-giving properties (46%) and caffeine content (23%).
The study suggests a decrease in ED consumption among YAs since the last similar research in 2013. People with higher educational attainment were less likely to consume EDs, suggesting that higher socioeconomic status could increase the ability to achieve positive health outcomes. The majority surveyed seemed reasonably knowledgeable on the content and health effects of EDs. Yet low awareness in a third of respondents may suggest a noticeable proportion of YAs are not motivated to engage with health messages. EDs were most commonly consumed due to their taste and energy-giving properties, which may reflect the lack of inclusion of influencing factors in previous health messages. A study with a larger sample size could validate the current findings, and identify a need for a public health campaign.||en_US