Energy drinks leading more teens to substance use: Study

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 - 11:25am IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: IANS
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Is your child hooked to energy drinks? Watch out for him as he may turn into a drug addict later.

Widespread adolescent energy drink use is strongly associated with substance use later in life, finds an alarming research.

Even a high soft drink consumption is also related to substance use but such associations were much stronger for energy drinks.

"Nearly one-third of US adolescents consume high-caffeine energy drinks or 'shots'. These teens also report higher rates of alcohol, cigarette or drug use," said Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath, from the institute for social research, University of Michigan.

The researchers analysed data on nearly 22,000 US secondary school students.

In response to questionnaires, about 30 % of teens reported using caffeine-containing energy drinks or shots.

More than 40%  said they drank regular soft drinks every day, while 20 % drank diet soft drinks daily.

Boys were more likely to use energy drinks than girls. Use was also higher for teens without two parents at home and those whose parents were less educated.

Surprisingly, the youngest teens (eighth graders) were most likely to use energy drinks/shots.

Students who used energy drinks/shots were also more likely to report recent use of alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs, claimed the study.

Energy drinks and shots contain high doses of caffeine to increase energy, concentration or alertness.

Energy drinks are often used together with alcohol which may 'mask' the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

Even without the possible link to substance use, researchers note that with their high caffeine and sugar content, energy drinks and shots aren't a good dietary choice for teens, said the study published in Journal of Addiction Medicine.


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