Trying to Keep Up: Energy Drink and Coffee Consumption, Student Involvement, and Sleep Among Diverse College Freshmen
Background While extensive research has been conducted among college students consuming alcohol with energy drinks, there is limited research exploring how extracurricular activities could have an impact on energy drink consumption and sleep. Understanding the association between student involvement and the impact it could have on sleep and energy drink consumption among college freshmen is essential in promoting healthy behaviors while in college. Objectives The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between student involvement, average hours of sleep, and predicted prevalence of energy drink and coffee consumption amongst college freshmen living in residence halls at a large, public university in the Southwest. Student involvement and fewer hours of sleep hypothesized to observe higher energy drink consumption. Methods This study was a secondary data analysis of the second wave of the longitudinal SPARC (Social impact of Physical Activity and nutRition in College) study assessing college freshmen (n=599; 70.6% female; 50.9% non-white) living on campus. Students were enrolled in this study during the 2015\u20142016 school year. Mutually adjusted generalized estimating equation (GEE) binomial models examined the relationship between involvement (academic clubs, sport clubs, honors, taking 16 or more credit hours, and having a job) and sleep with energy drink and coffee consumption, controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, Pell grant status, ever having tried alcohol, and clustering of students in residence halls. Results On average, students were enrolled in 15 credits, slept an average 8 hours per night, those who had a job worked 14 hours for pay per week, 35% reported consuming energy drinks in the past week, and about 29% of students reported coffee consumption. Males showed a higher predicted prevalence of energy drink consumption compared to females (p<0.001), where females showed a higher predicted prevalence of coffee consumption compared to males (<0.001); energy drink consumption was less prevalent amongst Hispanic students compared to white students (p=0.018), but more prevalent amongst black students compared to white students (p=0.002); no associations between race were found in predicted prevalence of coffee consumption. Average hours of sleep per night was inversely associated with energy drink consumption predicted prevalence (p<0.001). There was a lower predicted prevalence of energy drink and coffee consumption in honors student status (p<0.001) compared to non-honors students. Students taking 16 or more class credit hours showed a higher predicted prevalence in both energy drink (p=0.050) and coffee consumption (p=0.023) compared to students taking less than 16 class credit hours. Students involved in physically active clubs showed a greater predicted prevalence of coffee consumption (p<0.001) compared to students not in physically active clubs. There was no difference in the predicted prevalence in energy drink consumption amongst students involved in physically active clubs (p=0.710), non-physically active clubs (p=0.493), and having a job (p=0.146). Coffee consumption predicted prevalence showed no significant prevalence amongst students of different race and ethnicity [Black (p=0.507), Hispanic (p=103), Other (p=116)] as well as students involved in non-physically active (p=0.839) clubs and who had a paid job (p=0.088). Conclusion Associations observed between average hours of sleep, the different types of involvement of student activities, and energy drink and coffee consumption, were interesting in that a few findings were found to be contrary to the hypotheses. Future research should delve deeper into student involvement within honors programs to understand the contextual factors of why these students showed a significant inverse association in energy drink consumption. Contrary to hypothesis, sleep and energy drink consumption prevalence were indirectly related leading future research to examine and understand why students are consuming energy drinks since on average participants were meeting recommended sleep guidelines. Nutrition interventions are needed for the groups at consuming energy drinks and alcohol in combination due to the study finding increased predicted prevalence amongst these groups as well as the increased risky health behavior associated with the combination found in the literature. Support or Funding Information This study was supported by the NIH Common Fund from the Office of the Director and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, grant number 1DP5OD017910-01 (PI: M. Bruening). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.