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Caffeine consumption and general health in secondary school children: A cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis.

Richards, Gareth ORCID: and Smith, Andrew ORCID: 2016. Caffeine consumption and general health in secondary school children: A cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. Frontiers in Nutrition: Eating Behavior 3 , 52. 10.3389/fnut.2016.00052

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Although caffeine is sometimes associated with beneficial effects in adults, the substance may be dangerous if intake is too high. This concern is particularly relevant in regards to children and adolescents, as consumption of energy drinks may be particularly high in such populations. For this reason, the current study examined data from the Cornish Academies Project to determine whether caffeine intake in secondary school children was related to responses to a single-item measure of general health. Two cross-sections of data were available: questionnaires were completed by 2030 at baseline, by 2307 at 6-month follow-up, and by 1660 at both time-points. Relationships were, therefore, explored both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. High caffeine consumption (i.e., 1000 mg/week) was associated with low general health in both cross-sections of data, and analyses of individual caffeine sources suggested that the effects related specifically to cola and energy drinks. However, after controlling for additional aspects of diet, demography, and lifestyle, total weekly intake only remained significantly associated with general health at the latter time-point. Further to this, null findings from cross-lag and change-score analyses suggest that caffeine and general health were unlikely to be causally linked in this sample. However, due to methodological limitations, such as the two cross-sections of data being collected only 6 months apart, it is suggested that further longitudinal and intervention studies are required in order for firm conclusions to be drawn.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescent behavior, caffeine, energy drinks, health, mental health
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 2296-861X
Funders: The Waterloo Foundation
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 November 2016
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2016
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 01:23

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