2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
William Daniel Thompson
Objective: To examine whether or not consumption of energy drinks is associated with likelihood to engage in a variety of “risky” behaviors. These risky behaviors include mixing alcohol with energy drinks, driving under the influence, neglecting to wear a seatbelt, binge drinking, using drugs, using prescription drugs illegally, engaging in sexually promiscuous behavior, taking a dare, or engaging in other illicit activity.
Design: Analytical survey study at the University of Kentucky
Subjects: Two hundred and two undergraduate and graduate college students encompassing varying ages and courses of study
Methods: A survey was administered to the subjects in February and March of 2009 to gather information about their energy drink consumption and history of engagement in risky behaviors over the course of the past year. The data received from the surveys was analyzed using Microsoft Excel by compiling charts and graphs, as well as calculating averages standard deviations, and other statistical tests.
Results: 92.86% of males and 82.69% of females reported energy drink usage at some point in their lives. A total of 202 students were surveyed about their engagement in risky behaviors within the past year. The average age of male participants was 20.14 +/- 1.33 years while the average age of female participants was 20.26 +/- 1.49 years. Of the participants that were surveyed, a positive correlation for both males and females was seen in consumption along with likelihood to drink alcohol and energy drinks concurrently, neglecting to wear a seatbelt, binge drink on a frequent basis, use illegal drugs, use prescription drugs illegally, and engage in sexually promiscuous activity. While the remaining 3 activities had significance in one gender or the other, they did not have significance in both genders so these behaviors were considered negligible.
Conclusion: Frequent consumption of energy drinks was associated with an increased likelihood to engage in various risky behaviors. This study gives evidence that consumption of these drinks can possibly lead to an increased likelihood to engage in risky behavior. Measures should be taken to educate the college age group in order to prevent these kinds of behavior resultant of energy drink consumption.