Use of energy drinks, alcohol, and tobacco by dairy farm employees

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science




Suppl. 1






dairy farms, energy drinks, employee health


Working on dairy farms may include long work shifts, long workweeks, exposure to extreme weather, high physical demands, and interruption of circadian rhythms. These factors may drive employees to find ways to keep themselves alert and productive. Because of that, energy drinks, tobacco, and alcohol use commonly co-occur in dairy farm employees. Energy drinks are nonalcoholic beverages containing stimulant com- pounds such as caffeine, which is marketed to reduce fatigue and improve physical/mental performance. Although frequent use of these beverages has been linked to negative health consequences, farmworkers may not be aware of that. This study aimed to determine the use of energy drinks, alcohol, and tobacco by South Dakota dairy farm employees. A personal interview was done with 70 employees from 4 farms. Participants were 76% male (women: 28 ± 1.7 and men: 34 ± 1.6 years old). The majority of workers were Mexican (46%) and Guatemalan (44%). Descriptive analysis was done using PROC FREQ of SAS v9.4. Thirty-nine percent (85% males) consumed energy drinks regularly (43% Monster and Red Bull beverages), whereas 40% (79% males) did not drink energy drinks at all. Only 21% consumed them in the past. The use of energy drinks was increased during wintertime and claimed to increase body temperature. Forty-nine percent (42% males) consumed alcohol after work on a daily basis and at social gatherings, whereas 40% have never consumed it. Nineteen percent currently smoked (only males), and 20% were former smokers (79% males). No sleep aid substances were used, and 6% of the male participants used pain killer drugs sporadically due to headaches, colds, or lack of sleep. Coffee and water were not frequently consumed. Energy drinks use at work and alcohol at home may impact employee’s well-being and increase their risk for future health issues. Measuring the energy drinks consumption and alcohol use is the first step toward understanding its use and risks. A socio-culturally respon- sive workshop curriculum for farmworkers is needed. This approach is powerful in making meaningful connections between their cultures, languages, current living situation, and life experiences. Study supported by HICAHS (Colorado State University).

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