Alexandria University Students' Hospital, Alexandria University, Egypt
Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of the consumption of soft and energy drinks by university students, and to identify the factors affecting the consumption rates.
Method: The study included 400 university students in the age group 18-24 years. Data were collected on the frequency of the consumption of soft and energy drinks, reasons for consumption, types consumed, and the factors affecting the consumption rate. These factors included the sex of the students, BMI, sources of advice to use energy drinks, knowledge about its constituents and side effects.
Findings: The results showed that 34.8% and 5.8% of the students used soft and energy drinks at least once daily respectively. Consumption rates were higher among male, overweight and obese students. The main reasons for using soft drinks were dieting (25.6%), good taste (18.0%), hot weather (16.3%). Energy drinks were used to stay awake or as a refreshment (28.2%), for more energy (22.7%), and for better sports performance (20.9%) where the coach was the effective source of advice to use energy drinks. Caffeine was identified as the main constituent of energy drinks by 29.1% of the students. Being nervous and having an increased heart rate were the main side effects felt by students.
Value: For the first time, the results present the rate of consumption of soft and energy drinks by university students in Egypt. A higher consumption rate and the increased sugar intake contributed to the high prevalence of overweight and obesity. The study identifies the factors affecting the consumption rates, which are needed to plan a nutrition education programme.
Keywords: Soft drinks; energy drinks; university students; BMI; sex; reasons for use; side effect; Egypt.