Energy-drink consumption in college students and associated factors

Nutrition. 2011 Mar;27(3):316-22. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.02.008. Epub 2010 Jul 1.


Objective: To investigate the frequency of energy-drink consumption and associated factors in a group of college students.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey) and included 439 students pursuing a career in medicine, sports, and arts. Only fourth-year students were approached. Data were collected using a self-administered standard questionnaire.

Results: In bivariate analyses, frequency of energy-drink consumption was higher in students of arts and sports and in those who did not have breakfast on a regular basis, ever smoked cigarettes, drank alcoholic beverages, and regularly engaged in sports compared with their counterparts. Many students who had "ever" tried an energy drink did so the first time because they wondered about its taste. Of regular users of energy drinks, reasons for using such drinks varied across the three selected groups of students and included obtaining getting energy, staying awake, boosting performance while doing sports, or mixing with alcoholic beverages. About 40% of all current users of energy drinks reported that they mixed those with alcoholic beverages. In multivariate analyses, statistically significant predictors of energy-drink consumption were faculty type, presence of any health insurance, use of alcoholic beverages, and monthly income, controlling for gender. Most students could not correctly define the ingredients of energy drinks or their potential hazardous health effects, and they could not distinguish energy and sports drinks when they were requested to select them from a list of commercial names of various drinks.

Conclusion: Consumption of energy drinks, despite the variation in the reason for choosing such drinks, is quite common in college students. Awareness of university students of the ingredients and potential health hazards of energy drinks, in particular in mixing with alcoholic beverages, should be increased.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Art
  • Beverages*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sports
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey
  • Universities
  • Young Adult