A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Duke University in Durham, NC, finds an association between weekly consumption of sports and energy drinks and higher consumption of other sugary drinks, cigarette smoking and use of screen media.
Larson et al 2014 - Adolescent Consumption of Sports and Energy Drinks: Linkages to Higher Physical Activity, Unhealthy Beverage Patterns, Cigarette Smoking, and Screen Media Use
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The high sugar, calorie and caffeine content of sports and energy drinks is an area of concern for health care professionals and these drinks have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. National data have shown that although there has been a fall in consumption of soft drinks and fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks have tripled in consumption among adolescents.
The researchers behind the new study - which is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior - gathered data from 2,793 adolescents across 20 public middle and high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area during the 2009-10 school year.
The students reported data on their height, weight, how often they drink sports and energy drinks, how often they eat breakfast, how much physical activity they engage in, how much time they spend playing video games and watching TV, and whether or not they smoke.
Despite consumption of sports drinks being linked to higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, overall, the researchers found that consumption of sports and energy drinks contributes to a growing cluster of unhealthy behaviors among adolescents.