Breakfast and Energy Drink Consumption in Secondary School Children: Breakfast Omission, in Isolation or in Combination with Frequent Energy Drink Use, is Associated with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Cross-Sectionally, but not at 6-Month Follow-Up.

03 May 2018

A considerable amount of research suggests that breakfast omission and the frequent use of caffeinated energy drinks may be associated with undesirable effects, and particularly so in children and adolescents. The current paper presents cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the Cornish Academies Project to investigate the effects of consuming energy drinks and missing breakfast on stress, anxiety, and depression in a cohort of secondary school children from the South West of England. Questionnaires were administered at two time-points (spaced 6 months apart) to collect information relating to diet and lifestyle over the previous 6 months. Demographic and school data were acquired through the School Information Management System, and single-item measures of stress, anxiety, and depression were administered at the second time-point only. Associations between breakfast and energy drink consumption and stress, anxiety, and depression were investigated, and a multivariate approach was taken so that additional variance from diet, demography, and lifestyle could be controlled for statistically. Cross-sectional analyses showed that breakfast omission was consistently associated with negative outcomes, and that this was largely observed for both those who frequently consumed energy drinks and those who did not. However, cross-lag analyses showed that neither breakfast omission or energy drink consumption, alone or in combination, was predictive of stress, anxiety, or depression at 6-month follow-up. This suggests that associations between breakfast and mental health may be bi-directional rather than breakfast being the causal factor.