Background: Globally, young adults and college athletes are primary targets of the marketing campaigns of energy drink companies. Consequently, it is reported that young adults and college athletes consume energy drinks frequently. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of energy drink consumption among student-athletes selected from seven public universities in Ghana. The study assessed the energy drink consumption patterns, types usually consumed, frequency of consumption and reasons why athletes consumed energy drinks.
Methods: A total number of 180 student-athletes gave their consent to participate in the study and completed a questionnaire which was administered during an inter-university sports competition.
Results: Most of the participants (62.2%) reported consuming at least one can of energy drink in a week. A high proportion (53.6%) of the respondents who drink energy drinks indicated that they did so to replenish lost energy after training or a competition. Other reasons given as to why energy drinks were consumed by the study participants included to provide energy and fluids to the body (25.9%), to improve performance (9.8%) and to reduce fatigue (5.4%).
Conclusion: These results suggest the need to plan health education programmes to particularly correct some wrong perceptions that athletes have regarding the benefits of energy drinks and also create awareness among student-athletes about the side effects of excessive intake of energy drinks.