Previously linked to health problems such as nausea and abnormal heart rhythms, caffeinated energy drinks like Red Bull and Amp may also be a predictor of high-risk behavior by teens, The New York Times reports.
About a third of 12- to 24-year-olds are regular users of energy drinks. Excessive use of the beverages has sent children to emergency rooms in Florida and Colorado and prompted teachers in Oregon earlier this month to warn parents of students showing up to school “drunk” on caffeine buzzes and “falling off” caffeine crashes, according to the report.
Although most of the drinks do not contain any more caffeine than a cup of coffee, the concern, say health experts, is that they are served cold, which makes it easy to consume large amounts quickly, according to the report.
The Journal of American College Health published a report in March on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior.
The study’s author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, told The Times that the study suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with risky and aggressive behavior including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.
The March study's finding doesn’t mean the drinks cause bad behavior. Rather, the data suggests that teens and 'tweens who regularly consume them are more likely to take risks with their health and safety, Miller said.