Marketing Project Topics

Awareness and Consumption of Energy Drinks Among University Students

Awareness and Consumption of Energy Drinks Among University Students

Awareness and Consumption of Energy Drinks Among University Students

Chapter One

Objective of the study

The main objective of the study is to assess the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students; it will aim to determine the patterns of energy drink consumption and associated factors among a group of University students consuming such drinks and to find out the occurrence of adverse side effects among energy drink users. Specifically the study aims:

  1. To determine the effect of socio-demographic characteristics (such as: age, gender, body mass index, faculty, and economic status) on energy-drink consumption patterns.
  2. To verify the relationship between energy-drink consumption and certain daily habits of drinkers, such as cigarette smoking, sports, breakfast, and sleeping patterns.
  3. To identify the main causes for using (or not using) energy drinks among participants.
  4. To identify if college students recognize the main ingredients of energy drinks, and to find out if they are aware of the possible side effect associated with the use of energy drinks.
  5. To find out the occurrence of side effects amongst current energy drink users.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

 Preamble

This chapter will present the conceptual review of related literature and  theoretical framework and models that are relevant and suitable for the current study and equally present the empirical review of previous studies on the study; and which will be applied and used to analyze collected data and information.

This chapter is viewing some researches that are related to

(1) Energy drink ingredients,

(2) Effects of energy drinks on college students,

(3) Marketing strategies

(4) The theoretical framework of my study.

 Conceptual Literature review

 What is the meaning of energy drinks?

All the beverages that fall under the category of energy drink consist of high levels of caffeine mixed with additional ingredients that are not found in other regular drinks such as juice. The energy drinks came in two different types of products, which are they: First, energy drinks, which are sold in 8-32oz. cans while the second type called energy shots, which are available in 2-2.5 oz. (Harris et al., 2010, Heckman et al., 2010). In fact, many products are available in markets from different companies, which they stated the ingredients of their products on the cans. The labeling issue is still an ongoing problem due to the fact that some companies do not put consistent labels in case of serving sizes (Harris et al., 2010), or unlabeled ingredients such as caffeine or other materials that have been some health side effects on the human health (Harris et al., 2010; Pomeranz et al., 2013).

Looking at the different types of energy drinks will let you see that all of them contain caffeine mixed with one or several of the following ingredients: “Taurine, Guarana, B Vitamins, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, L-Carnitine, Sugars, Antioxidants, Glucuronolactone, Yerba mate, creatine, milk thistle, L-theanine, Artificial Sweeteners” (EnergyFiend, 2013c; Higgins, Tuttle, & Higgins, 2010; Ishak et al., 2012; Walker & Woolsey, 2009; Woolsey 2010). And the following pages will explain in details the five major ingredients of energy drinks.

Caffeine: Energy drinks are providing the consumers an extra burst of energy, which is particularly coming from the large amount of caffeine that they contain (Higgins, Tuttle, & Higgins, 2010; Reissig et al., 2008, Woolsey, 2010). When caffeine is taken orally, 99 percent will be absorbed totally by the gastrointestinal tract within 45-90 minutes (Magokos & Kavouras, 2005; Julien, 2008). Furthermore, the studies reveal that The human liver is the major place in which caffeine get metabolized and then excreted out the body by the kidneys with urine (Fredholm, Battig, Holmen, Nehlig, & Zvartau, 1999; Magokos & Kavouras, 2005; Julien, 2008). The liver metabolizes caffeine to many metabolites, but the major ones are “paraxanthine” , which represents more than 83 percent, “theobromine” and “theophylline” are they equal to less than 17 percent. Paraxanthine and theophylline are the biologically active metabolites, which are similar to the caffeine in its effects and mechanism of action (Fredholm, Battig, Holmen, Nehlig, & Zvartau, 1999; Heckman et al., 2010, Julien, 2008).

Further, it’s “Water Soluble” nature is a big advantage that allows it to be distributed easily into the body tissues and helps it to pass the “blood-brain barriers” to start the physiological changes (Magokos & Kavouras, 2005; International Food Information Council Foundation, 2008; Julien, 2008). Then, the highest concentration in the plasma will be in about 1.5- 2 hours after the caffeine intake and then it will gradually vanish. Caffeine works as an adenosine receptor antagonist, which works to suppress the inhibitory effects of the “adenosine” on the nervous system – both central and peripheral- which makes it a good stimulant (Mandel, 2002; Ribeiro & Sebastiao, 2010).

The mechanism of action for the caffeine is still not that clear and remains to be ongoing study there are many studies have been done to explore its effects. So far caffeine is a well known compound for its ergogenic effect, which has very broad spectrum of “Metabolic, hormonal, and psychological” effects (Higgins et al., 2010; Heckman et al., 2010). Ergogenic are chemical substance tends to enhance body performance (Freedictionary.com, 2013b). So, its metabolic effects starts by mobilizing fat stores and acts as stimulating agent to make the muscles depleted the fat inside them during the work out and spare the glycogen for later, which helps to increase the exercise time (Higgins et al., 2010; Laurent et al., 2000). Studying the caffeine effects in vitro shows that even six mg for each kg for body weight enhanced the body performances during exercise and that effect can last from one minute to one hour and 20 minutes (Graham, 2001). Thus, caffeine is banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its ergogenic effects in 1962, then the IOC removed the ban a decade later, but recently the IOC considers it as a restricted drug (Hawley, 1998).

The hormonal and psychological effects start when caffeine occupies the adenosine receptor sites-A1 and A2a- because it has a similar molecular design (Heckman et al., 2010; Woolsey, 2010). Woolsey (2010) state that both of A1 and A2a work to control the releasing of other important neurotransmitters that may work with “Dopamine” and “Non- epinephrine”. In fact, A2a receptors can be found in the dopamine highly saturated areas, or what they called “Dopamine rich pleasure-reward places” while A1 can be found everywhere in the brain (Fredholm et al., 1999; Woolsey, 2010).

In fact, caffeine does not work to affect the dopamine releasing mechanism. It instead works in an indirect way to stimulate dopamine activity through blocking out of the adverse effects of adenosine from affecting receptors of the dopamine. Then, that gives a clear explanation for the well-being feelings after consuming caffeinated beverages (Julien, 2008). Next, Small amounts of caffeine (12 to 99 mg) have shown some effectiveness in improving the cognitive performance and the mood (Fredholm et al., 1999; Giles, Mahoney, Brunye, Gardoney, Tylor, & Kanaraek, 2012; Heckman et al., 2010). In addition, caffeine works to increase the amount of epinephrine, which causes several metabolic changes in the body. Although these changes are considered secondary changes, they can improve the person’s feelings physically and mentally (Graham, 2001). A recent study states energy drinks when compared to placebo, had energy boosting effect. In details, the researchers have found that the study participants, who were 18- 55 years old, felt that they are stronger from 18- 60 minutes after caffeine intake and they sustained that at least for another 90 minutes (Heckman et al., 2010). That is a big motive to make young generations buy and to consume energy drinks.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Preamble

In this chapter, attention was paid on the methods employed by researchers in obtaining information geared towards ascertaining the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students.

Research design

A cross-sectional research methodology with a descriptive research design was used for this study. A descriptive design can be used to analyze the characteristics of a given population in a systematic and accurate way. A descriptive design is a common way to gather information about either the whole community or part of it through a survey (Olsen & St George, 2014).

Descriptive research most often uses a “cross sectional” approach, in which refer to a “slice of time” certain situation in a specific community at specific period of time (Olsen & St George, 2014). These types of studies are not suitable to test hypotheses; however, their goals are to give description about a given subgroup of the community (Daniel, 2016). Descriptive designs are often used to document the prevalence of behaviors, healthy or risky, and outcomes of particular behavior (CDC, 2012).

A survey was used in this study to collect the needed information. The term ‘survey’ refers to a systematic way of collecting information from a group of individuals through asking them an identical set or sets of questions to be most valid, the group should be representative of the whole community that it came from it (Aday & Cornelius, 2016). Using a survey to collect information about any community or a subgroup from that community has some positive points. First, it helps collect data from a large number of people in a short time. Next, it can be a cost effective way to collect data (Blackstone, 2012). Also, the survey approach helps the participants stay anonymous, especially if sensitive information is being collected. The survey also can help to prevent the researcher effect, which reduces bias by giving a standardized set of questions paper, which everyone can answer privately without (Yount, 2016).

 Setting for the study

The study was carried out in National Open university of Nigeria. The Makurdi Study Centre was used for the study.

Target population of the study

A study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitute of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description (Udoyen, 2019). In this study the study population constitute of all the Nursing students in National Open university of Nigeria, Makurdi Study Centre.

CHAPTER FOUR

PRESENTATION OF DATA AND ANALYSIS

 Preamble

This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. The study included 279 students, who agreed to participate and fill the questionnaire, 8 refused to participate, stating that (they had no time to fill the questionnaire), another 13 did not turn the questionnaire back.

CHAPTER FIVE

DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS

The main aim of this study was to find out the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students, and the occurrence of side effects among current users. In general, 80.5% of those who ever used energy drinks were males, and 19.5% were females. The significance of this difference could be more remarkable if compared to other studies in which energy-drink consumption did not vary significantly based on gender, on the contrary, 53% of energy drink users, in a study done at East California University, 2017, were females. This difference might be due to cultural considerations in our community, which allow males to be more independent, and gives them more freedom in controlling different aspect of their own lives. This point could be more clarified when viewing the most common reasons for using energy drinks among participants, on the top of which was to “stay awake at night” (68.6%). Staying awake at night on its own could have many reasons including partying and hanging out with friends at night (as to concentrate during studying and exams was a completely different reason to be chosen), this, in turn, is considered to be a more acceptable behavior for males in our community.

Other socio-demographic characteristics didn’t have a significant influence on energy-drink usage among participants. The highest proportion of those who ever used energy drinks were students in the Faculty of Medicine (37.3%), followed by Faculty of engineering students (33.9%), and the least ones to use energy drinks were students of the Faculty of Physical Education (28.8%). This slight difference might support the idea that energy drinks are used more to help students get through situations involving mental stress (such as exams, projects), more than situations involving physical stress (such as playing sports).

The difference found in relation to age, marital status, and residency, who are all university students and are expected to share common features, such as the same age category (most are younger than 24 years), marital status (the vast majority are single), and living either with their families or with other students (which is considered to be a natural distribution of this sample), this, in turn, make these differences statistically insignificant.

In relation to daily habits, smoking seemed to have a significant relationship with the use of energy drinks, as 61.5% of all smokers included in this study (n=24) have tried using energy drinks, and 60.8% of non-smokers never used energy drinks in their lives. A study done at the Department of Psychology, university of Memphis, 1994, showed that smokers were much more likely to drink caffeinated coffee and a dose-response relationship between caffeine from coffee and smoking intake was observed.

The most common reasons for using energy drinks among participants were to stay awake at night (68.6%), to enjoy the taste (59.3%), and to concentrate during studying, exams, and projects (58.5%). The same reasons applied for “current” energy-drink users, with enjoying the taste being the most common reason (84.1%), followed by “to concentrate during studying, exams, and projects”, “to stay awake at night” and “to get energy boost for sports”. The least common reason for using them was “to imitate friends”. These results are somehow consistent with other studies 839. The main difference was that mixing energy drinks with alcohol was among the main reasons for using them among participants in both mentioned studies. This does not apply to our study results. This reason was not even listed among the possible ones for using energy drinks, as it might be generally considered as socially and religiously unacceptable, even though, the participants were offered to add any other reasons not amongst those listed in the questionnaire, but none of them did.

The most common reason for not using energy drinks among participants was that they thought energy drinks were “unhealthy” (79.9%), followed by not having curiosity to try energy drinks (70.2%), and 61.5% said they did not need extra energy. This is probably due to the awareness of the possible health risks associated with energy-drink use among university students, as 53.6% of all participants stated they knew there might be side effects associated with the use of energy drinks.

Regarding the knowledge of the main constituents of energy drinks, 64.4% of all participants didn’t know the main ingredients of energy drinks. This might be justified by the lack of awareness of students to the constituents of drinks they consume, but at the same time it should be noted that many of these drinks do not display the exact amounts of their ingredients, and some of them don’t even mention some of the main ingredients (such as caffeine).

Of current users of energy drinks, 40.9% denied having any side effect associated with their energy drink use, this might be due to the relatively low intake of energy drinks, as most of them (56.8%) consume –on an average- less than one bottle per day. The most common side effect was palpitations, encountered by 29.5% of current users, followed by insomnia in 22.7% of users. These findings are consistent with results from a study done at a state university in the Central Atlantic region of the United States, 2007, in which 51% reported consuming at least one energy drink during the last month. Of these energy drink users 22% reported headaches, and 19% reported heart palpitations from drinking energy drinks.

It is important to note that the most hazardous use of energy drinks in terms of the health of young adults seems to be use of energy drinks in mixtures with alcohol. Suspected deaths linked to energy drinks have been reported in Australia and Ireland. Three people died in Sweden after drinking Red Bull: two had mixed Red Bull with alcohol, and the third drank it after an exercise session. There is debate regarding whether the drinks caused these deaths, but as a result, some restaurants in Sweden have banned Red Bull in their establishments. The Swedish National Food Administration recommended that Red Bull not be mixed with alcohol or consumed after exercise 13. This issue of mixing energy drinks with alcohol was not assessed in this study, due to social and cultural considerations, but I think it should be part of any future studies with relevance to this topic.

Implication of findings

Energy-drink usage is higher among males and those with higher monthly expenditure. A high proportion of students are ignorant to the main constituents and side effect of energy drinks. Most side effects thought to be associated with energy-drink use are seen in only a small proportion of energy-drink users approached in this study.

Further research should be done in order to identify the exact amounts of caffeine present in energy drinks, and to study the prevalence of energy-drink consumption, not only among university students, but among all adolescents and young adults as well.

Study Limitations

A self-structured questionnaire was used in the collection of data in this study, which might have led to misrepresentation of some data by participants, such as the weight, which would have probably been more accurate if measured by the investigator himself, but the lack of adequate time made it difficult to be done that way. This could possibly have an influence on the results of the study.

The type of sampling was a convenience sample for reasons mentioned earlier (see Methodology). The size of the sample was pre- determined to be 300, owing to the strict timeframe and limited resources available for the primary investigator. This could limit the generalization of the results on other university students.

Data collection was done with the assistance of other people; this might have affected the sampling in this study, although it was done under the guidance of the principal investigator.

Summary of the study

This study was on the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students. The main aim of this study was to find out the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students, and the occurrence of side effects among current users.

It was divided into five chapters; chapter one dealt with background to the study, statement of research problem, objective of the study, relevant research question and hypotheses, significance of the study and scope of the study it was concluded with the definition of terms.

Chapter two presented the conceptual review of related literature and  theoretical framework and models that are relevant and suitable for the current study and equally present the empirical review of previous studies on the study; and which will be applied and used to analyze collected data and information.

Chapter three attention was paid on the methods employed by researchers in obtaining information geared towards ascertaining the Awareness and consumption of energy drinks among university students. Chapter four presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. and chapter five summarized and concluded the study.

Conclusion

Energy-drink usage is higher among males and those with higher monthly expenditure. A high proportion of students are ignorant to the main constituents and side effect of energy drinks. Most side effects thought to be associated with energy-drink use are seen in only a small proportion of energy-drink users approached in this study.

Campaigns should be encouraged in order to spread awareness about the contents and possible side effects of energy drinks. Such campaigns should focus to a greater extent on adolescents and young adults, males, and people of high economic classes.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Experimental studies should be done to truly ascertain if the reported effects are caused by the intake of energy drinks.
  2. There should be intensification in awareness on the hazards of energy drinks by various stakeholders such as health professionals, academia, media and also the University community.
  3. Health education should be increased on the need to moderate energy drinks intake among students.
  4. The Food and Drugs Authority should enforce strict regulations on the production and sale of energy drinks to control the number and quality of energy drink brands available on the market.

REFERENCES

  • Adan A. (2012) Cognitive performance and dehydration. J Am Coll Nutr, 31(2), 71-787 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2012.10720011
  • Adu-Gyamfi, Y. and Adjei, B. (2018) Skills Development, Knowledge and Innovation at Suame Magazine, Kumasi. African Innovation Research, 16(1), 2-42.
  • Ajzen, I. (1991) The theory of planned behaviour. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes. 50(2), 179-211. DOI: 10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T.
  • Akhtar, S. and Bhattacharjee, M. (2013) The Marketing mix elements for social cause: A rational approach to derive the new 4Ps. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/28904422/The_Marketing_Mix_Elements_for_Social_Cau se_A_Rational_Approach_to_Derive_the_New_4Ps [Accessed on 12th September, 2019]
  • Alford, C., Cox, H. and Wescott, R. (2001) The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids, 21(2), 139–50. doi:10.1007/ s007260170021.
  • Al-Shaar, L., Kelsey, V., Chang, Lu., Scott, R., Tamez, M. and Josiemer, M. (2017) Health Effects and Public Health Concerns of Energy Drink Consumption in the United States: A Mini-Review. Frontiers in Public Health, 5(1), 225. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2017.00225.
  • Alsunni, A. A. and Badar, A. (2011) Energy Drinks Consumption Pattern , Perceived Benefits And Associated Adverse Effects Amongst Students Of University Of Dammam, Saudi Arabia. 23(3), 3–9.
  • Arpaci, N., Tosun, S. and Ersoy, G. (2010) Sports and energy drink consumption of physical education and sports students and their knowledge about them. OUA, 10(2), 732-736.