The Buzz on Energy Drinks
Learn the facts about energy drinks. In this lesson, you will collect and analyze local peer data and learn the health implications of their beverage choices while improving skills in critical thinking and data used to justify decision making. You will practice real-life public health surveillance techniques, develop surveys, collect and compare data, and draw evidence-based conclusions. Throughout the lesson, you will learn about the limitations and biases of different public health surveillance methods. You will be encouraged to communicate their knowledge and create intervention strategies to positively influence beverage choices among their peers.

Today’s Activities


What is an Energy Drink?

  • A beverage that typically contains large amounts of caffeine, added sugars, other additives, and legal stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine. These legal stimulants can increase alertness, attention, energy, as well as increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
  • These drinks are often used by students to provide an extra boost in energy. However, the stimulants in these drinks can have a harmful effect on the nervous system. Watch this short video:
  • Are Energy Drinks Really that Dangerous?

The word “energy” is talked used when talking about energy drinks, and also when talking about power and electricity. What is “energy”? Watch this video and identify what energy means, and what kinds of energy exist? 


The Potential Dangers of Energy Drinks:

In 2011, 1,499 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years went to the emergency room for an energy drink-related emergency.

Some of the dangers of energy drinks include:

  • Dehydration (not enough water in your body).
  • Heart complications (such as irregular heartbeat and heart failure).
  • Anxiety (feeling nervous and jittery).
  • Insomnia (unable to sleep).

First, take this quick survey on your own beverage consumption:

drink up: Soda and Sports Drinks


Next, survey five male and female friends or family members with the survey question below.  You should think about your strategy for survey collection. Determine if you will collect names or other information from those you survey, such as male or female, age, etc. If you choose to collect this information, those will be in addition to the five topic-specific questions.

Then create a data table. Think about your data.  Generate a rule about how to select which survey to use. The total number of people surveyed. Include only data from your final sample in your data table. Display the data in a format you think is appropriate.  Decide if you should present your data by using numbers, percentages, or both.

Then write up which type(s) (e.g., brand names) of soft drinks and sports drinks were the most popular among your final sample? Use data to support your answer.

Part 2:  Data and questions


1. Do drinks play a role in your calorie intake?

2. Provide examples of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) that you normally drink. Then provide some healthier options that you would be willing to try instead. Try to provide a variety of options.

Instead of… Calories …I might try: Calories

3. While getting your lunch or dinner do you decide to get the drink with the least amount of calories? Of the drinks offered, what would you choose?

4. You look at the nutrition label on a 20-ounce bottle of a regular sports drink that lists 100 calories per serving. On a second look at the label, you notice that there are 2.5 servings per container. If you drank the whole container, how many calories would you be drinking?

5. You know your friends like to drink soft drinks and sports drinks. Name three strategies you might give them to reduce the number of calories they drink.

6. Read the information on the link below.

7. What could you report out to the people you surveyed? Could you tell them what they are risking by using energy drinks?  

You know your friends like to drink soft drinks and sports drinks. Name three strategies you might give them to reduce the number of calories they drink.


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