Background: Energy drinks (ED) consumption is highly prevalent among Palestinian children. Up to our best knowledge, no studies have examined the effect of ED consumption on refugee children’s psychosomatic behavior and mental health.
Three hundred and twenty-nine Palestinian refugee children aged 12-15 years were interviewed in a cross-sectional in 2021. Adjusted multiple logistic regression to the grade, gender, working hours, cigarette, waterpipe, vape smoking, black tea, coffee, and chocolate consumption, was used to assess the association between ED consumption and psychosomatic symptoms at p-value<0.05.
Results: The prevalence of ED consumption was 56.2% with significant increase among males (68.7%) compared to females (43.6%) (p-value<0.001). ED consumption was associated with an increased risk of cigarette smoking (OR=4.84, p-value=0.007), waterpipe smoking (OR=2.75, p-value=0.004), and coffee consumption (OR=2.21, p-value=0.02). Refugee children who felt nervous and engaged in physical fights daily were more likely to be ED consumers (OR=2.53, p-value=0.023, waterpipe smokers (OR=3.14, p-value=0.022), and at higher risk to have insomnia daily (OR=24.01, p-value=0.00), or several times per week (OR=2.98, p-value=0.005), and a higher grade (OR=1.57, p-value=0.019). Refugee children who were engaged in physical fighting several times weekly (41.9%) were more likely to be females (OR=2.22, p-value=0.011), work after school (OR=3.45, p-value=0.030), and suffer from insomnia either daily (OR=9.21, p-value=0.011), or several times weekly (OR=2.61, p-value=0.001).
Conclusion: This study revealed the high ED consumption and tobacco smoking and their association with psychosomatic symptoms among Palestinian refugee adolescents. It suggests the urgent need to address risk factors, identify high-risk children, and offer accessible psychological help.
Keywords: Palestinian refugee adolescents, Depression in children, Energy drinks, Tobacco smoking, Cognitive enhancers and Psychostimulants, UNRWA.