Consumption of energy drinks by children and young people: a systematic review examining evidence of physical effects and consumer attitudes

C. Ajibo, A. Van griethuysen, S. Visram, A.a. Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective
To update an earlier review, published in 2016, on the health and other outcomes associated with children and young people's consumption of energy drinks (EDs).

Study design
Review article.

Systematic review
Systematic searches of nine databases (ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, DARE, Embase, ERIC, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science) retrieved original articles reporting the effects of EDs experienced by children and young people up to the age of 21 years. Searches were restricted by publication dates (January 2016 to July 2022) and language (English). Studies assessed as being weak were excluded from the review. Included studies underwent narrative synthesis.

Results
A total of 57 studies were included. Boys consumed EDs more than girls. Many studies reported a strong positive association between ED consumption and smoking, alcohol use, binge drinking, other substance use and the intentions to initiate these behaviours. Sensation-seeking and delinquent behaviours were positively associated with ED consumption, as were short sleep duration, poor sleep quality and low academic performance. Additional health effects noted in the updated review included increased risk of suicide, psychological distress, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, depressive and panic behaviours, allergic diseases, insulin resistance, dental caries and erosive tooth wear.

Conclusions
This review adds to the growing evidence that ED consumption by children and young people is associated with numerous adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Where feasible and ethical, additional longitudinal studies are required to ascertain causality. The precautionary principle should be considered in regulatory policy and restriction of ED sales to this population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2024

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