Purpose: The aims of the study were to: a) examine the prevalence of energy drink (ED) and alcohol mixed with energy drink (AmED) consumption; b) investigate the relationships between ED and AmED with alcohol, binge drinking and drugs accounting for at risk behaviors among a representative sample of Italian adolescents.
Methods: A representative sample of 30,588 Italian high school students, aged 15-19years, was studied. Binary and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the independent association of the potential predictors' characteristics with the ED and AmED drinking during the last year.
Results: Respectively 41.4% and 23.2% of respondents reported drinking EDs and AmEDs in the last year. Multivariate analysis revealed that consumption of EDs and AmEDs during the last year were significantly associated with daily smoking, binge drinking, use of cannabis and other psychotropic drugs. Among life habits and risky behaviors the following were positively associated: going out with friends for fun, participating in sports, experiencing physical fights/accidents or injury, engaging in sexual intercourse without protection and being involved in accidents while driving.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the popularity of ED and AmED consumption among the Italian school population aged 15-19years old: 4 out of 10 students consumed EDs in the last year and 2 out of 10 AmED. Multivariate analysis highlighted the association with illicit drug consumption and harming behaviors, confirming that consumption of EDs and AmEDs is a compelling issue especially during adolescence, as it can effect health as well as risk taking behaviors.
Keywords: Alcohol mixed with energy drinks; Energy drinks; High school students; Prevalence; Risk taking behavior.
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