A new report has revealed that consumption of energy drinks by teenagers may be associated with poor mental health and substance use. Researchers have been prompted by findings of the report to call for putting limits on access of teenagers to these drinks and reduction in the amount of the caffeine in each can.
It was disclosed by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Dalhousie University that high school students prone to depression and those who smoke marijuana or drink alcohol are more likely to consume energy drinks than their peers.
“While it remains unclear why these associations exist, the trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption among teenagers,” said Sunday Azagba, lead author on the research paper.
“These drinks appeal to young people because of their temporary benefits like increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy,” said Azagba.
Nearly two thirds among the 8210 high school students surveyed reported using energy drinks at least once in the past year, with more than 20 per cent consuming them once or more per month.
“Marketing campaigns appear designed to entice youth and young adults. It’s a dangerous combination, especially for those at an increased risk for substance abuse,” said Azagba. “Given the negative effects of excessive caffeine consumption as well as the coincident occurrence of the use of energy drinks and other negative behaviors in teens, the trends we are seeing are more than cause for concern,” said Azagba.
“In our opinion, at the very least steps should be taken to limit teens’ access to energy drinks, to increase public awareness and education about the potential harms of these drinks and to minimize the amount of caffeine available in each unit,” said Azagba.
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