Do Military Service Members Fit the Targeted Age & Gender Demographic of Many Marketing Campaigns for Energy Drink Products?

Research Paper Title

Energy Beverage Use Among U.S. Service Members.

Background

The use of energy drinks (ED) or shots (ES) is becoming increasingly popular in US beverage market. In addition, young, physically active males, such as active-duty enlistees represent a prime target for the advertising of ED/ES; however, the exact mechanisms and safety of these products have come under scrutiny. This cross-sectional, exploratory, web-based survey among US service members describes the prevalence of ED/ES use as well as common side effects and safety of these products among self-reported users.

Methods

A convenience sample of US military members (n = 1,706; response rate = 7%) was used to conduct a cross-sectional, exploratory, web-based survey of ED/ES usage among U.S. military members. Main outcome measures included:

  • Prevalence of ED/ES use;
  • Perceived effects associated with use; and
  • Differences among subgroups.

Results

Among all respondents, 50% reported consuming ED and 16% reported consuming ES at least once a month. Young, male, enlisted and members of operational military units were significantly more likely to indicate use of ED/ES at least once within the past 30 days than other groups, and were more likely to co-ingest ED and alcohol. Self-reported reasons for using ED included needing an energy boost (77%) and increasing mental alertness (52%). Perceived increases in mental alertness, heart rate, and mental endurance were the most commonly reported effects of ED/ES consumption. About a third (36%) perceived energy beverages and dietary supplements to be safe; while more than half (53%) reported not discussing ED, ES, vitamins/minerals, DS, caffeine, or alcohol use with their healthcare provider(s).

Conclusions

Military Service members fit the targeted age and gender demographic of many marketing campaigns for ED/ES products, and many perceive these beverages as safe to use. The possible problems associated with overuse/reliance on ED/ES products, particularly relating to operational force readiness, merit further investigation.

Reference

Attipoe, S., Delahanty, L., Stephens, M. & Deuster, P.A. (2018) Energy Beverage Use Among U.S. Service Members. Military Medicine. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy169. [Epub ahead of print].

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