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Use of caffeinated energy drinks among secondary school students in Ontario: Prevalence and correlates of using energy drinks and mixing with alcohol

Abstract

Objectives

Caffeinated energy drinks have become increasingly popular among young people, raising concern about possible adverse effects, including increased alcohol consumption and related risk behaviours. The current study examined consumption of caffeinated energy drinks and use of energy drinks with alcohol, as well as associations with socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics, among a sample of secondary school students in Ontario.

Methods

Survey data from 23,610 grade 9–12 students at 43 purposefully sampled Ontario secondary schools participating in the baseline wave (2012/13) of the COMPASS study were analyzed using generalized linear mixed-effects models. Outcomes were any energy drink use, frequency of use, and use of alcohol mixed with energy drinks; covariates were age, sex, race, spending money, body mass index (BMI), weight-related efforts and alcohol use. Two-way interactions between sex and other covariates were tested.

Results

Nearly one in five students (18.2%) reported consuming energy drinks in a usual week. Use of energy drinks was associated (p < 0.01) with all socio-demographic variables examined and was more common among students who were male, off-reserve Aboriginal, had some spending money, had a BMI outside of “healthy” range, were trying to lose weight, and/or reported a higher intensity of alcohol use. Interactions with sex were observed for age, spending money and weight-related efforts. Use of energy drinks mixed with alcohol in the previous 12 months was reported by 17.3% of the sample, and was associated with race, spending money, and more frequent binge drinking.

Conclusion

Regular use of energy drinks was common among this sample of students and strongly linked to alcohol consumption.

Résumé

Objectifs

Les boissons énergisantes deviennent de plus en plus populaires auprès des jeunes et suscitent des inquiétudes sur leurs effets secondaires possibles, y compris l’augmentation de la consommation d’alcool et des comportements à risques. Nous avons examiné la consommation de boissons énergisantes et la consommation simultanée de boissons énergisantes et d’alcool, ainsi que leurs associations avec des caractéristiques sociodémographiques et comportementales, dans un échantillon d’élèves des écoles secondaires de l’Ontario.

Méthodes

Les données d’enquête de 23 610 élèves de la 9e à la 12e année, fréquentant 43 écoles secondaires de l’Ontario sélectionnées par échantillonnage dirigé et ayant participé à la phase de référence (2012–2013) de l’étude COMPASS, ont été analysées avec des modèles linéaires généralisés à effets mixtes. Les résultats comptabilisés étaient l’utilisation quelconque de boissons énergisantes, la fréquence d’utilisation, et la consommation de boissons énergisantes en combinaison avec l’alcool; les covariables étaient l’âge, le sexe, l’ethnicité, l’argent de poche, l’indice de masse corporelle (IMC), les efforts liés au poids et la consommation d’alcool. Les interactions entre le sexe et d’autres covariables ont été testées.

Résultats

Près d’un élève sur cinq (18,2 %) a déclaré consommer des boissons énergisantes au cours d’une semaine habituelle. L’utilisation de boissons énergisantes était associée (p < 0,01) avec toutes les données sociodémographiques examinées et était plus fréquente chez les élèves de sexe masculin, les Autochtones hors réserve, les élèves qui avaient de l’argent de poche, ceux qui avaient un IMC hors de la zone des „poids santé”, ceux qui tentaient de perdre du poids et/ou ceux ayant déclaré une consommation d’alcool élevée. Des interactions avec le sexe ont été observées pour l’âge, l’argent de poche et les efforts liés au poids. La consommation simultanée de boissons énergisantes et d’alcool au cours des 12 mois précédents a été déclarée par 17,3 % de l’échantillon et était associée à l’ethnicité, à l’argent de poche et aux excès occasionnels d’alcool plus fréquents.

Conclusion

L’utilisation habituelle de boissons énergisantes était courante dans cet échantillon d’élèves, et fortement liée à la consommation d’alcool.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Hammond PhD.

Additional information

Acknowledgements: The COMPASS study was supported by a bridge grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes through the “Obesity — Interventions to Prevent or Treat” priority funding awards (OOP-110788; grant awarded to Scott Leatherdale) and an operating grant from the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (MOP-114875; grant awarded to Scott Leatherdale). Additional support was provided to David Hammond by a CIHR New Investigator Award and a Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute Junior Investigator Award.

Conflict of Interest: None to declare.

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Reid, J.L., Hammond, D., McCrory, C. et al. Use of caffeinated energy drinks among secondary school students in Ontario: Prevalence and correlates of using energy drinks and mixing with alcohol. Can J Public Health 106, e101–e108 (2015). https://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.106.4684

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.106.4684

Key words

  • Adolescent
  • energy drinks
  • caffeine
  • health behaviour

Mots Clés

  • adolescent
  • boissons énergisantes
  • caféine
  • comportement sanitaire