OBJECTIVE: Despite growing awareness about the harmful physiological effects of energy drinks, especially among young people, there is little regulation governing the marketing and sale of these products to adolescents. Thus, in contrast to substances such as cigarettes and alcohol, energy drinks are readily available to adolescents, and widely consumed. It is not known if the easy availability of energy drinks has the effect of increasing usage of these substances among adolescents, and reducing sociodemographic differences in the consumption of energy drinks. In this study, we use pooled data (2010-2015) from the nationally representative Monitoring the Future survey (n=43,283), to compare consumption of energy drinks with other substance use, and to compare the sociodemographic correlates of energy drink consumption among high school students (10th and 12th grade) with those of cigarette and alcohol consumption.
METHODS: Covariate-adjusted estimates for prevalence of consumption of energy drinks, cigarettes, and alcohol for each of different sociodemographic strata were obtained via logistic regression analysis. Additional analyses examined the extent to which socioeconomic disparities in prevalence of consumption of energy drinks are predicated by cigarette smoking and alcohol use.
RESULTS: While the patterning of differences in energy drink use by sex, grade, race and parental education (as a measure of socioeconomic status) were similar to those seen in cigarette smoking and ever-use of alcohol, the magnitude of differences across subgroups varied across these behaviors. Racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and age differences were smaller in the case of energy drink use compared to alcohol or cigarette use. Gender differences were larger than in the case of cigarette smoking. In all cases, energy drink use were higher among students who were current users of alcohol or cigarettes, but there was little evidence that sociodemographic variables were differentially associated with energy drink use within these strata.
CONCLUSIONS: Ready availability of energy drinks has resulted in elevated use of these products relative to cigarette smoking and alcohol, and some narrowing of socioeconomic differentials in use. Regardless of socioeconomic status, use of energy drinks is higher among current users of cigarettes and / or alcohol.
Key Take Away Points
Key Finding 1: Racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and age differences were smaller in the case of energy drink use compared to alcohol or cigarette use.
Key Finding 2: Regardless of socioeconomic status, use of energy drinks is higher among current users of cigarettes and / or alcohol.
Eun Me Cha, MPH, Doctoral student, Dell Health Scholar Nalini Ranjit, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS, FISBNPA John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
This manuscript was based on secondary analyses of the Monitoring the Future survey. The manuscript team received partial funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and contributions from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin to complete the analyses and produce the manuscript.
Cha, Eun Me; Ranjit, Nalini; and Hoelscher, Deanna M.
"A Comparison of Sociodemographic Correlates of Cigarette, Alcohol, and Energy Drink Consumption among High School Students in the United States, 2010-2015,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 8:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol8/iss2/1