Trends in Energy Drink Consumption Among U.S. Adolescents and Adults, 2003–2016


      Energy drinks refer to non-alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, amino acids, herbs, and vitamins. Although energy drinks are marketed to reduce fatigue and improve physical/mental performance, frequent consumption of these beverages has been linked to negative health consequences. The purpose of this study is to provide timely, national estimates of the percentage of energy drink consumers in the U.S. and to analyze trends in energy drink intake between 2003 and 2016.


      A total of 9,911 adolescents (aged 12–19 years); 12,103 young adults (aged 20–39 years); and 11,245 middle-aged adults (aged 40–59 years) were assessed using dietary data from the 2003–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. For each age group (adolescents, young adults, and middle-aged adults), logistic regression was used to estimate the proportion of energy drink consumers, and negative binomial regression was used to estimate per capita energy drink consumption, adjusting for covariates. Differences in total caffeine intake between energy drink consumers and non-consumers were examined by pooling all survey years together and using negative binomial regression. Analyses were conducted in 2018.


      From 2003 to 2016, the prevalence of energy drink consumption increased significantly for adolescents (0.2% to 1.4%, p=0.028); young adults (0.5% to 5.5%, p<0.001); and middle-aged adults (0.0% to 1.2%, p=0.006). Per capita consumption of energy drinks increased significantly from 2003 to 2016 only for young adults (1.1 to 9.7 calories, p<0.001). Pooled across years, energy drink consumers had significantly higher total caffeine intake compared with non-consumers for adolescents (227.0 mg vs 52.1 mg, p<0.001); young adults (278.7 mg vs 135.3 mg, p<0.001); and middle-aged adults (348.8 mg vs 219.0 mg, p<0.001).


      These findings indicate that consumption of energy drinks has grown substantially and that these drinks are a major source of caffeine among those who consume them.
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