More Young Americans Sipping Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Researchers connect health and behavior issues with high consumption of energy drinks.

May 02, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —More than ever, young Americans are sipping caffeinated energy drinks, and the trend is generating some concerns, according to U.S. News.

In a new study, investigators found a significant increase in energy drink consumption among teens, and young and middle-age adults during the past decade. Compared with people who don’t drink the beverages, energy drink fans had a much higher total caffeine intake, with the drinks accounting for the majority of that caffeine.

High-caffeine intake can increase the risk of dangerous behaviors, mental health problems such as depression, high blood pressure and other heart problems, the researchers concluded. Plus, sugar in the energy drinks can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cavities. For some young adults, mixing energy drinks with alcohol is popular, leading to overdrinking and related threats, such as impaired driving, the report noted.

“The increasing use of energy drinks, especially among young adults, is cause for concern and warrants continued study and surveillance,” said Sara Bleich of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s department of health policy and management and senior author of the report.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,900 teens, more than 12,000 young adults and more than 11,000 middle-age adults who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2016.

During that time, those who reported having an energy drink on a typical day rose from 0.2% to 1.4% among teens, from 0.5% to 5.5% among young adults, and from 0% to 1.2% among middle-age adults. Throughout the study period, energy drink users had significantly higher total caffeine intake, compared with those who did not consume the beverages.

While findings suggest that daily energy drink use among teens and middle-age adults may be leveling off, use by young adults continues to rise, the researchers said. The findings were published April 29 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.