Intake of caffeine and its association with physical and mental health status among university students in Bahrain.

H Jahrami et al, 2020.
Foods, Volume 9 (4).
April 16, 2020


In Western populations, the caffeine intake of young adults has received significant attention in the research literature; our knowledge in other societies remained limited. The objective of this research is to quantify the amount of ingested caffeine and how this is related to measures of physical and mental health in a Bahraini population. A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate caffeine intake from coffee, tea, cocoa, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolates, and over-the-counter medications. Associations between caffeine intake, demographic variables and 25 symptoms measured using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 were examined. A convenience sample of university students in Bahrain (n = 727) was surveyed. Caffeine, in any form, was consumed by 98% of students. Mean daily caffeine consumption was 268 mg/day, with males consuming more than females. Coffee was the main source of caffeine intake, followed by black tea and energy drinks. Participants consuming 400 mg/day or more showed a statistically and significantly twice as high risk for five symptoms, these were: headaches, spells of terror or panic, feeling trapped or caught, worrying too much about things, and having feelings of worthlessness. The prevalence of caffeine intake among university students in Bahrain is high. The overall mean intake of caffeine from all sources by university students was within levels considered to be acceptable by many dietary recommendations. High caffeine intake was associated with an anxiogenic effect in the surveyed students.


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