Author: Gareth Richards and Prof. Andy Smith, Cardiff University

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Four: 9.30am – 11am

Diet has been shown to have an important influence on cognition and behaviour and may be a contributing factor in the development of disorders such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD. Of particular concern is how highly caffeinated ‘energy drinks’ such as Red Bull® may affect the developing minds of children and adolescents.

In order to assess whether such products may be detrimental, energy drink consumption was investigated in relation to attendance and performance at Key Stages 3 and 4 English and mathematics in a large cohort (N = 2045) of secondary school children from the south of England. Dietary and lifestyle information was obtained from a 35-item questionnaire and attainment data (as well as a number of control variables) were collected through a confidential electronic database created in Cardiff.

Whilst controlling for 23 additional lifestyle and dietary variables, logistic regressions showed high energy drink consumption to be significantly associated with below average attendance and school performance. The current findings demonstrate the importance of increasing awareness of the potential negative effects of caffeinated energy drinks and educating those at risk of high consumption. In addition, concerns are raised regarding public health, dietary regulations and advertising policies.

Presentation not available.