Biomedical Research

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Pattern of use and awareness of contents, benefits and adverse effects of energy drinks among university students in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

There is widespread consumption of energy drinks especially by young population. Aggressive marketing in the name of performance improvement is directed towards young adults. Most consumers don't know about the largely unregulated constituents. High levels of caffeine and sugar often lead to adverse effects. This study was conducted among university students regarding consumption behaviour, awareness of constituents, perceived risks and benefits, and possible attitude modification. Selfadministered structured and validated questionnaire was distributed to university students and received back in unmarked sealed envelopes. Descriptive analysis, correlation and subgroup analysis was done. 548 respondents returned the filled questionnaire. Consumption was more in males. Maximum number of medical students stopped consumption due to adverse effects. 82% students acknowledged more harm than benefit. Media and internet were most common source of information. Majority have no knowledge about the main constituent except medical students who marked caffeine as answer. Main activity for consumption was driving followed by examination. As compared to others, medical students observed more side effects. Increased urine frequency was most common observed effect. Interventional measures were considered inappropriate by most respondents and they preferred healthcare personnel to educate them instead of commercial companies. Majority assured total discontinuation (46.3%) or a decrease in consumption (35.5%) of energy drinks. This study reinforced the findings of some previous studies but differed on many issues. The questionnaire incorporated some novel questions not addressed previously and subgroup analysis was also done. Energy drinks issue should be taken seriously by healthcare authorities.

Author(s): Hussam AS Murad, Misbahuddin M Rafeeq