Teen use of energy drinks concerns top N.B. health officer
Survey finds 57% of teens have consumed energy drinks
New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health is concerned about the number of students who say they consume energy drinks.
Young people were asked about energy drinks for the first time in the 2012 New Brunswick Student Drug Use Survey Report, which was conducted by the provincial government.
According to the report, 57 per cent of students said they used energy drinks, 12 per cent said they drank them more than once a month and eight per cent said they used them more than twice a month.
The energy drinks are associated with increased risk of adverse behavioural and health effects, such as increased heart rate and higher blood pressure, the provincial government says.
"Increased caffeine can cause things like irritability, insomnia, tremors, and in very high uses it can actually cause convulsions, delirium," said Dr. Eilish Cleary, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
Cleary said it was important to get an understanding of how widespread the use of these energy drinks is in New Brunswick schools.
The next step is to look at ways to limit the consumption of energy drinks by young people.
In April 2012, Liberal MLA Bill Fraser introduced a private member’s bill that would have required anyone who sells energy drinks to warn the buyer about the potentially harmful effects of the product.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Ted Flemming asked Cleary to investigate the adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly on children.
The 2012 student survey also suggests male students were significantly more likely than females to pick up an energy drink.
Males represented 68 per cent of frequent users of energy drinks, according to the report.
Cody Meade, a Grade 10 student in Fredericton, said he is one of those students who has energy drinks more than he should.
"I like the taste and it does kind of give you energy, but it doesn't really work on me," he said.
Some young people said they know the risks associated with energy drinks.
"I know that they're bad for me so I don't drink them," said Samatha Roy.
Meanwhile, Zachary Roy said he also understands the negative side-effects of these drinks.
"I like to think of myself as an athlete, I fence, so I try not to drink energy drinks because I know they're not good for me," he said.