Study: Energy drinks linked to unhealthy habits in teens

KUSA - Teens who drink energy drinks are more likely to display unhealthy habits, a new study found.

Researchers say behaviors such as smoking and playing video games are more common among teens looking for a caffeine boost.

They also found teens who consume energy drinks are less active.

Boys who had an energy drink at least once a week spent four more hours per week playing video games.

Boys and girls who said they "frequently" had energy drinks were also twice as likely to have smoked cigarettes, the study found.

Published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis surveyed about 2,800 middle and high school students in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Researchers asked them about how often they drank energy drinks, as well as other behaviors.

"Unfortunately, adolescents are the ones drinking most of them," said 9NEWS health expert Dr. John Torres. "Up until now some people have been saying, 'Well is that a bad thing?' because they're probably doing a lot more physical activity because of all the caffeine and energy in the drinks. Well it turns out that's a myth. That's not what's happening."

Although the study shows energy drinks and unhealthy habits are linked -- researchers cannot definitively say which behavior came first.

They also allude to increased exposure to T-V ads as a factor in the rise of teens consuming energy drinks.

According to the study, TV advertising for energy drinks increased 20 percent between 2009 and 2010.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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