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Energy drink consumption in children and early adolescents

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of energy drink consumption in children and very young adolescents and to study the sociodemographic and environmental–behavioral factors associated with regular, at least once a week, energy drink consumption in early adolescence. This survey was conducted during the 2011–2012 school year in the Province of Rovigo, in the Veneto Region (northeastern Italy), and involved a sample of 916 students. The usage of energy drinks increased significantly with age, from 17.8 % among sixth graders to 56.2 % among eighth graders. Among the male student population, 16.5 % of those in the eighth grade and 6.21 % of those in the sixth grade, respectively, drank them at least once a week. The independent variables conferring a higher likelihood of being at least once-a-week energy drink consumers were smoking and alcohol consumption. Awareness of the damage caused by energy drinks emerged as a protective factor that reduced the likelihood of young students consuming such drinks. Conclusions: This study showed that energy drink consumption is rising steadily in children and early adolescents. Energy drink consumption was found associated with the abuse of other substances, such as tobacco and alcohol.

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Acknowledgments

Funding for this study was provided by 60 % research grants from the University of Padua and by private funds from the Comitato Interclub Service per il Polesine. Comitato Interclub Service per il Polesine had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data; writing the manuscript; or the decision to submit the paper for publication. We thank all Rovigo province schools and each student who participated in the study.

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Correspondence to Alessandra Buja.

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Gallimberti, L., Buja, A., Chindamo, S. et al. Energy drink consumption in children and early adolescents. Eur J Pediatr 172, 1335–1340 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-013-2036-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-013-2036-1

Keywords

  • Energy drink
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Substance abuse
  • Children behavior
  • Adolescent behavior