Fuse podcast

Should we be concerned about energy drinks and young people’s health?

We hear a lot about the harms associated with children drinking energy drinks. But what exactly are energy drinks and how do they differ to sports drinks and soft drinks? And what does the evidence tell us about their effect on young people?

In this fifth episode of the podcast Public Health Research and Me, host and Public Partner Cheryl Blake speaks with Fuse researchers Professor Amelia Lake and Dr Shelina Visram to cut through the confusion and ask some of the questions that you want to know about energy drinks.

Amelia and Shelina’s latest research, published in the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) journal Public Health, shows a wider range of risks associated with energy drinks in children than ever before, including an increased risk of mental health issues.

They tell us how the research began with a chance conversation with a drug and alcohol outreach worker who kept being asked by teachers about the evidence on energy drinks. This episode also explores how rare it is to find research that speaks directly with youngsters about energy drinks, the perils of involving children as young researchers (when shops are offering free samples!), and co-producing resources with parents and young people that have been used around the world.

Find out how energy drinks are marketed at children and young people through all things ‘cool’ and how Amelia and Shelina tread the fine line between researcher and advocate. Do they think there is enough evidence to say that children shouldn’t have access to energy drinks? There’s a clue on every can if you look very closely…!

Listen now on AppleGoogleSpotify and Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcast.

Content/Trigger warnings: suicide, poor mental health, poor healt

More about our guests

Amelia A Lake is a dietitian and public health nutritionist. She works as a Professor of Public Health Nutrition at Teesside University and is an Associate Director of Fuse, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health. Her current work is broadly around food systems and the food environment. In particular, food insecurity, healthy planning, energy drinks, the workplace environment and knowledge exchange. Her research involves transdisciplinary collaborations to examine how the environment interacts with individual behaviours.

Shelina Visram is a senior lecturer in public health with the Population Health Sciences Institute at Newcastle University. She co-leads the Fuse health inequalities research cluster. Her research involves working with people from vulnerable, marginalised and under-represented populations to understand their health needs and experiences of health inequalities. Shelina’s interest in energy drinks is linked to her interest in translational research that meets the needs of policy, practice and public partners.

About our host

Cheryl Blake is this episode's host. She is a public partner who has collaborated closely with Fuse and the wider public partner-led podcast planning group in creating the 'Public Health Research and Me' podcast. Cheryl is an expert by experience who has also worked with the NIHR and Northumbria University. Her interests and specialised subjects are around mental and sexual health, domestic abuse, coercive and violent behaviour, and family court and social workers within that system. She supports survivors of sexual/abuse to find female empowerment through art, poetry and meditation.

Resources and further information 

For a copy of the transcript click here Podcast - Episode 5. For more information please email ⁠⁠info@fuse.ac.uk⁠⁠

The 'Public Health Research and Me' podcast is led by the public partners of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, to bridge the gap that sometimes occurs between research and public audiences.

If you're a fan of our podcast, please subscribe, rate or review, and share with your friends, families, colleagues and networks.

For a copy of the transcript or for more information email: ⁠⁠info@fuse.ac.uk⁠⁠

With special thanks to the Fuse podcast group (Emma Adams, Victoria Bartle, David Black, Cheryl Blake, Mandy Cheetham, Lesley Haley, Fiona Ling, Cassey Muir, John O’Shea, Laura Ritson, Viola Rook, Cheryl Wiscombe), David Winter (editing) and Shaun O'Boyle (training). Produced by Ella Anderson and Mark Welford. Music: Tuesday (Glitch Soft Hip-hop) by amaksi.

Last modified: Wed, 01 May 2024 11:38:51 BST