Introduction. The consumption of energy drinks (ED) and ginseng by young people to enhance their mental and physical performance has become widespread. Reported side-effects of ED have raised doubts regarding their safety. This cross-sectional study investigates the phenomenon.
Methods. An anonymous questionnaire was administered to a representative sample of Italian university students. The resulting data were analyzed with Excel 2013, STATA 13 and GraphPad INSTAT software.
Results. ED and ginseng consumption was reported by 38.6% and 37.4% of the students, respectively. More than 70% of ED and ginseng users were 18 to 22 years old. Excluding non-responders, ED consumers were mostly males (51.8% vs. 33.0%), contrary to ginseng consumers (females 40.4% vs. 30.9%). The most frequently reported academic and other reasons for ED use were: “to study longer” (47.5%), and “to socialize” (29.1%). The most often used combinations were ED containing alcohol (65.6%) and ginseng-coffee beverages (71.8%).Conclusions. The diffusion of ED and ginseng consumption warrants prevention and monitoring measures, and deserves further analysis.
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