-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who drink
high-caffeine energy beverages such as Red Bull or Monster may be
more likely to use alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, a new study
The findings suggest that the same personality traits that
attract kids to energy drinks -- such as being a risk taker -- may
increase the chances that they'll use addictive substances, the
study authors said.
For the study, published in the January/February issue of the
Journal of Addiction Medicine, the researchers analyzed data
from nearly 22,000 students in grades 8, 10 and 12. The
investigators found that about 30 percent said they consumed
caffeine-laced energy drinks or shots, more than 40 percent drank
regular soft drinks each day and 20 percent drank diet soft drinks
Boys were more likely than girls to consume energy drinks. Use
of the beverages was also higher among teens without two parents at
home and those whose parents had lower levels of education. The
researchers were also surprised to find that 8th graders were more
likely to use energy drinks than 10th or 12th graders.
Students who consumed energy drinks were two to three times more
likely to say they'd recently used alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
than those who didn't consume energy drinks, the study authors
said. While soft drink consumption was also linked to use of these
substances, the association was much stronger for energy
"The current study indicates that adolescent consumption of energy drinks/shots is widespread and that energy drink users also report heightened risk for substance use," wrote Yvonne Terry-McElrath and colleagues at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
The findings do not prove that consumption of energy drinks
leads to substance use, the researchers stressed in a journal news
release. However, they concluded that awareness programs "for
parents and prevention efforts among adolescents should include
education on the masking effects of caffeine in energy drinks on
alcohol- and other substance-related impairments."
They also urged wider recognition that "some groups [such as
high sensation-seeking youth] may be particularly likely to consume
energy drinks and to be substance users."
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
energy and sports drinks.
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