Informing Intervention Strategies to Reduce Energy Drink Consumption in Young People: Findings From Qualitative Research

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017 Oct;49(9):724-733.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2017.06.007.


Objective: To determine young people's knowledge of energy drinks (EDs), factors influencing ED consumption, and intervention strategies to decrease ED consumption in young people.

Design: Eight group interviews with young people (aged 12-25 years).

Setting: Community groups and secondary schools in Perth, Western Australia.

Participants: Forty-one young people, 41% of whom were male and 73% of whom consumed EDs.

Phenomenon of interest: Factors influencing ED consumption and intervention strategies informed by young people to reduce ED consumption.

Analysis: Two researchers conducted a qualitative content analysis on the data using NVivo software.

Results: Facilitators of ED consumption included enhanced energy, pleasant taste, low cost, peer pressure, easy availability, and ED promotions. Barriers included negative health effects, unpleasant taste, high cost, and parents' disapproval. Strategies to reduce ED consumption included ED restrictions, changing ED packaging, increasing ED prices, reducing visibility in retail outlets, and research and education.

Conclusion and implications: Because many countries allow the sale of EDs to people aged <18 years, identifying ways to minimize potential harm from EDs is critical. This study provided unique insights into intervention strategies suggested by young people to reduce ED consumption. In addition to more research and education, these strategies included policy changes targeting ED sales, packaging, price, and visibility. Future research might examine the feasibility of implementing such interventions.

Keywords: adolescent; energy drinks; policy; qualitative; young adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Energy Drinks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult