Acute Effects of Energy Drinks on Behavioural Sanctions in Secondary School Children: A Preliminary Study

Gareth Richards, Nick Millward, Philip Evans, James Rogers, Andrew Smith

Abstract


A large body of research suggests that diet can exert significant effects on behaviour, mood, and cognition. Of particular concern in recent years has been the rapid rise in popularity of highly caffeinated energy drinks, with some suggesting that they may negatively impact the performance, behaviour and health of schoolchildren. The current study aimed to assess whether these products exert acute effects on the likelihood of children receiving detentions. In addition, another known risk factor, the omission of breakfast, was also recorded. Participants in the current study came from a cohort of 3071 pupils attending three secondary schools in the South West of England. Those who were given a detention during a weeklong period of December 2013 (N = 40) were asked to state whether or not they had consumed an energy drink and eaten breakfast that day. The results were then compared to a control day later in the same week on which detentions had not been received. The children given detention were found to be more likely to habitually consume energy drinks and skip breakfast than other children in the cohort from which they came. The major difference between detention and control days was that on detention days there was an increase in both missing breakfast and consuming energy drinks. Though conclusions must be tentative due to the preliminary nature of the study, the results indicate that breakfast intervention programmes and restricting energy drink consumption may be effective methods for reducing problem behaviour in secondary schools.


Keywords


adolescent behavior, breakfast, caffeine, diet, diet and behaviour scale, energy drinks, nutrition, school meals

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jfr.v4n4p1

Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887(Print)   ISSN 1927-0895(Online)

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