A meta-analysis of 71 studies across many countries, published between 2007 and 2021 and included males and females aged 16 to 53 sought to quantify who was the biggest consumer of energy drinks (ED) and why.
According to the authors, most studies (37) found that ED consumption was done for studying and exams. In some studies, the reasons (for ED use) were to stay alert or awake and improve physical activity or sports.
Overall, the prevalence of ED consumption was estimated to be 43 percent among university students, with substantial heterogeneity across studies. Moreover, the overall prevalence of ED use was not different in sensitivity analyses. Meta-regression analysis revealed that the prevalence of ED consumption remained independent of the proportion of females, mean age, or methodological quality.
Interestingly, the authors found that ED consumption decreased with increasing sample size. Sub-group analysis according to WHO (World health Organization) regions showed the highest prevalence of ED consumption in Southeast Asia region at 62 percent, followed by the European region (50 percent), Eastern Mediterranean region (49 percent), region of Americas (42 percent), and African region (58 percent).
The prevalence of ED consumption showed substantial variations across studies. The differences in the estimates of ED use were associated with geographic location and sample size independent of age, gender, and methodological quality.
The authors concluded that university students, particularly males, commonly consume EDs for improved academics and sports or physical activities. Nonetheless, this may lead to adverse health outcomes, particularly those related to sleep and nervous or cardiovascular systems.
Protano C, Valeriani F, De Giorgi A, et al. (2022). Consumption Patterns of Energy Drinks in University Students: A Systematic Review and Meta analysis. Nutrition. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2022.111904.