Energy Drink Consumption Rates and Influences in Extreme Sport Enthusiasts
Background: Energy drink companies have embedded themselves in the extreme sport subculture, by sponsoring athletes and competitions, for example: The X Games, Formula 1, and Nitro Circus. However, health effects associated with energy drink consumption currently has limited documentation, and questions remain unanswered surrounding the effects of their sugar and caffeine content. There is limited data on energy drink consumption rates and even less concerning the drivers influencing their consumption in varying sectors of the population. Consequently, those who regularly watch or participate in these sports are repeatedly exposed to advertising for these products. Objectives: The aims of this study were to: 1. Quantify energy drink consumption rates in extreme sport enthusiasts; 2. Examine reasons for energy drink consumption; 3. Investigate why people participate in or follow extreme sport and if these are drivers of energy drink consumption; 4. Investigate if, and how, advertising and sponsorship of extreme sports and/or athletes influences energy drink behaviour. Methods: A 41-item, cross-sectional online questionnaire was developed through recommendations of electronic survey best practices, including a pre-test focus group. Distribution was conducted via social media, email, flyers, and word-of-mouth. An incentive was available for all respondents who completed the questionnaire to enter one or more of the four extreme sports prize draws. The questionnaire was available from 15 November 2016 to 21 February 2017. Results: The questionnaire had a completion rate of 64%. Of the 248 included respondents (mean (SD) age 26.2 (8.2) y, 40.5% female), 57.9% indicated that they consumed energy drinks, with 25.5% of respondents consuming at least one energy drink per week. No significant differences were found between consumption in males and females (p=0.307). There was an inverse correlation between age and consumption rate, where for every year older, a respondent was 3.1% less likely to consume energy drinks (p<0.05). Additionally, an increase of weekly viewing of extreme sport, was correlated with a 31% increase in the odds of consuming energy drinks (p<0.001), however reported weekly viewing of energy drink advertising was not associated with increased consumption. Of those that participated in and followed extreme sports for an adrenaline rush, 61.6% and 80% consumed energy drinks respectively. The most commonly reported reasons for consuming energy drinks included: to keep awake, provide a lift/get up and go, or for refreshment and taste. The most common reason for not consuming energy drinks was concern for adverse health effects. Conclusion: Extreme sport enthusiasts appear to have a higher energy drink consumption than university students, athletes and general population reported in other questionnaire studies. The consumption rates reported in this study may be influenced by the exposure of energy drink advertising towards those with an increased frequency of viewing extreme sports. Future research will be needed to confirm this finding, in a larger, more international sample.
Advisor: Rehrer, Nancy; Perry, Tracy
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Department of Human Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Energy Drink; Extreme Sport; Nutrition; Beverages; Athletes
Research Type: Thesis