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Public Policy and Health

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.



Conference presentations

Members of the HYPER! Team are presenting papers at three conferences to help disseminate some of the initial findings from the study. These are:

Press coverage

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.

Blog post

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;

Bull sperm and ‘poor parents’: the role of myths in public health practice

Further project information

Project summary and timetable


Fuse Brief

Should we be concerned about energy drinks and young peoples health?

The three speakers from the event have each written a fuseblog on their topics which can be found here:

On twitter follow #sugar for tweets about the event.


The HYPER (Hearing Young People's Views on Energy Drinks: Research) Study Final Report

September 2015

<<Download Report>>

Research Team

Shelina Visram

Lecturer in public policy and health, Durham University

Amelia Lake

Lecturer in knowledge exchange in public health, Durham University and Fuse

Deborah Riby

Senior lecturer in psychology, Durham University

Mandy Cheetham

Research associate in translational research, Teesside University and Fuse

Stephen Crossley

Research Assistant, Durham University

Contact Information

For further information regarding this study, please contact;

Shelina Visram

Principal Investigator, Durham University

Telephone: 0191 334 0061