Energy drink consumption among young Australian adults: Associations with alcohol and illicit drug use
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Background: Energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular among young people. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of energy drink consumption and its associations with socio-demographic characteristics, alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use in a population-based sample of young adults participating in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Methods: We used self-administered questionnaires to assess energy drink consumption patterns, alcohol intake, cigarette and illicit drug use at the 20-year cohort follow-up. Data was also collected on socio-demographics, physical activity, body mass index (BMI) and dietary intake. Our sample included 1234 participants (47% male, mean age 20 ± 0.5 years). We considered energy-drink consumption as a categorical (users versus non-users) variable. Results: Overall, 48% of participants consumed energy drinks at least once per month, with an average intake of 1.31 ± 0.75 cans per day amongst energy drink users. The most significant correlates of energy drink use were being in part-time or full-time employment, being male, being a cigarette smoker, having heavier alcoholic spirit consumption patterns and being an ecstasy user (all p < 0.05). No significant associations were observed with BMI or dietary intake. Conclusions: Australian energy drink users tend to have heavier alcohol consumption patterns be a cigarette smoker and use illicit drugs relative to non-users. More research is needed regarding the health risks associated with energy drink use in young adults, including their possible role in the development of substance abuse problems.