Energy drinks linked with risk taking
A study recently published in The Journal of American College Health reported a link between risky behaviors and energy drinks. According to the study, authored by Kathleen Miller of the University of Buffalo, high levels of energy drink consumption are linked with what Miller calls “toxic jock” behavior, to include unprotected sex, violence, and substance abuse. The author clarified that toxic jock behavior is not a direct result of drinking energy beverages but rather that personalities that consume higher amounts of these types of drinks would also be likely to engage in risky behaviors. According to Dr. Miller, “It appears the kids who are heavily into drinking energy drinks are more likely to be the ones who are inclined toward taking risks.” Sadly, approximately one third of 12 to 24 year olds self-report regular consumption of energy drinks. The following is an excerpt of an article from the New York Times that discusses the issue:
The trend has been the source of growing concern among health researchers and school officials. Around the country, the drinks have been linked with reports of nausea, abnormal heart rhythms and emergency room visits.
In Colorado Springs, several high school students last year became ill after drinking Spike Shooter, a high caffeine drink, prompting the principal to ban the beverages. In March, four middle school students in Broward County, Fla., went to the emergency room with heart palpitations and sweating after drinking the energy beverage Redline. In Tigard, Ore., teachers this month sent parents e-mail alerting them that students who brought energy drinks to school were “literally drunk on a caffeine buzz or falling off a caffeine crash.”
Pastoral Action Point: It may well be worth the time to address the risks associated with energy drink consumption during youth gatherings. With energy drinks so readily available and consistently marketed many teenagers and young adults may not have any idea of the risky behaviors associated with personalities who consume higher amounts of the product. I for one was intrigued to find that so many reports of emergency room visits, abnormal heart rhythm, and nausea have been associated with energy drink abuse; I imagine that teenagers and young adults would also find this information to be interesting and useful.