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Polaris of Enlightenment

Monday, June 17, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Norwegian teens’ rising use of energy drinks worries health officials

Published 23 January 2024
- By Editorial Staff

It is common for 13-year-olds to drink energy drinks in Norway, according to new statistics from the Norwegian Public Health Agency. Half of the young people who drink energy drinks say they have experienced negative health effects.

The consumption of energy drinks among young people, both in terms of frequency and number, has increased in Norway from 2017 to 2023. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is concerned about this trend because energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, which can contribute to poor sleep and potentially other health effects.

– Results from a new report by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health show that energy drinks have become common from the age of 13. As many as 58% of middle school students and 72% of high school students drink energy drinks. Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances and negative effects on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system, said Marianne Hope Abel, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health responsible for the analyses in the report, in a press release.

Between 2017 and 2022, the proportion of secondary school students who drank energy drinks once a week or more increased from 25% to 36%, while the corresponding figure for high school students increased from 30% to 52%. About one-third of young people who consume energy drinks report drinking three cans or more in a 24-hour period.

– We also see social inequalities in energy drink use. Young people from families with lower socioeconomic status drink them more often than young people from families with higher socioeconomic status, says Hope Abel.

Negative health effects reported by half of respondents

The main reasons given for drinking energy drinks are that they taste good and quench the thirst. Especially among older teens, many said it was to get more energy and be more alert.

About half said they had experienced negative health effects after drinking energy drinks, such as tremors, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. One in four said they felt uncomfortable without the drink, which could indicate withdrawal symptoms.

The report is based on data from the Ungdata survey, in which 301,992 secondary school students answered questions about energy drink consumption between 2017 and 2022. In addition, the study includes data from online surveys of young people aged 10 to 18 years, conducted between 2015 and 2023.

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