The HYPER! (Hearing Young People’s Views on Energy Drinks: Research) Study
Increasing numbers of children and adolescents regularly consume energy drinks, which are non-alcoholic beverages marketed as a way to relieve fatigue and improve mental alertness. These drinks typically contain high levels of caffeine and sugar in combination with other ingredients known to have stimulant properties, such as guarana, taurine, and herbal substances. Anecdotal evidence suggests that children who regularly consume energy drinks can become dependent on them and even moderate consumption may be harmful. There are likely to be health implications associated with excessive caffeine and sugar intake, such as caffeine withdrawal, sleep disruption, dental erosion and type 2 diabetes.
Despite the growing market and media reports of severe adverse events associated with their consumption, research into the use and effects of energy drinks is lacking. There is a need to gather evidence on the impact (if any) of these drinks on young people’s health and wellbeing, as well exploring factors influencing purchase and consumption in the north east of England. This is important given that survey results indicate average consumption of energy drinks by young people in the UK to be higher than other European countries.
The HYPER! (Hearing Young People’s Views on Energy Drinks: Research) study has been designed to add to the existing evidence base and inform future proposals to develop, implement and evaluate policies, interventions and educational resources on this issue. The research consists of three work packages: 1) a review of the existing literature; 2) a qualitative study involving primary and secondary schools in County Durham; and 3) a mapping exercise on the availability of energy drinks to local children and young people.
This project is funded by The Children’s Foundation and will run from 1st June 2014 to 31st May 2015.
Members of the HYPER! Team are presenting papers at three conferences to help disseminate some of the initial findings from the study. These are:
- Wolfson Research Institute Research Colloqium, Stockton on Tees, 15 April 2015
- International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity conference, Edinburgh, 3-6 June 2015
- Faculty of Public Health conference, The Sage Gateshead, 23-24 June 2015
- World Obesity Federation Hot Topic Conference: Dietary Sugars, Obesity and Metabolic Disease Risk, Berlin, 29-30th June 2015
- Food Active - Translating Local Action to National Policy, September 2015
- Energy drinks: hype or hyper? A mixed methods study on children and young people's use of energy drinks, September 9th
- The social and economic context for young people's food and drink purchasing in and around secondary schools
Amelia Lake,Lecturer in knowledge exchange in public health, Durham University and Fuse and Co-Investigator on the HYPER! study was quoted in The Times on 26 February 2015 in relation to a story on the amount of sugar in energy drinks following a press release by Action on Sugar.
Stephen Crossley has written a FUSE blog post on some of the different myths which have emerged during the HYPER! study and how these myths can affect public health policy and practice. The blog can be found by clicking the link below;
Further project information
The three speakers from the event have each written a fuseblog on their topics which can be found here: http://fuseopenscienceblog.blogspot.co.uk/
On twitter follow #sugar for tweets about the event.
The HYPER (Hearing Young People's Views on Energy Drinks: Research) Study Final Report
Lecturer in public policy and health, Durham University
Lecturer in knowledge exchange in public health, Durham University and Fuse
Senior lecturer in psychology, Durham University
Research associate in translational research, Teesside University and Fuse
Research Assistant, Durham University
For further information regarding this study, please contact;
Principal Investigator, Durham University
Telephone: 0191 334 0061