Although representative data on caffeine intake in Americans are available, these data do not include US service members (SMs). The few previous investigations in military personnel largely involve convenience samples. This cross-sectional study examined prevalence of caffeine consumers, daily caffeine consumption, and factors associated with caffeine use among United States active duty military service members (SMs).
A stratified random sample of SMs were asked to complete an on-line questionnaire on their personal characteristics and consumption of caffeinated products (exclusive of dietary supplements). Eighteen percent (n = 26,680) of successfully contacted SMs (n = 146,365) completed the questionnaire.
Overall, 87% reported consuming caffeinated products ≥1 time/week. Mean ± standard error per-capita consumption (all participants) was 218 ± 2 and 167 ± 3 mg/day for men and women, respectively. Caffeine consumers ingested 243 ± 2 mg/day (251 ± 2 mg/day men, 195 ± 3 mg/day women). On a body-weight basis, men and women consumed respectively similar caffeine amounts (2.93 vs 2.85 mg/day/kg; p = 0.12). Among individual caffeinated products, coffee had the highest use (68%), followed by sodas (42%), teas (29%), energy drinks (29%) and gums/candy/medications (4%). In multivariable logistic regression, characteristics independently associated with caffeine use (≥1 time/week) included female gender, older age, white race/ethnicity, higher body mass index, tobacco use or former use, greater alcohol intake, and higher enlisted or officer rank.
Compared to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, daily caffeine consumption (mg/day) by SMs was higher, perhaps reflecting higher mental and physical occupational demands on SMs.