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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Are Energy Drinks Good for Kids?

soccerIt’s Spring soccer for the kids. We take the field, watch our kids run in a herd towards the goal and come back to the sideline for a short pep talk. Then, it is halftime. The mom in charge of snacks rolls her big cooler to the sideline and pulls out the energy drinks. I used to think, “Is this necessary? These kids have hardly exerted themselves. How about water bottles?”

Energy drinks are found everywhere someone is playing a sport. Our teens are consuming these drinks at the rate of 38%, and 15% say they have an energy drink at least one a week. From what I have seen, downing those drinks is not usually related to vigorous sports play.

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So should our young kids and teens be consuming these drinks?  Are there side effects?

A  study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Duke University would probably support my cry for water bottles.  Here are the problems:

1) Energy drinks are high in sugar and other calories which makes them a factor in weight gain and tooth decay. We know what a problem childhood obesity is and most parents know the cost of dental care!

2) Boys who drink energy drinks at least weekly spend at least 4 more hours playing video games a week compared to those who drink less than one a week. The more drinks, the more energy to play games it appears. But again, we are seeing more sedentary behavior linked to childhood obesity.

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3) Both boys and girls energy and sports drink consumption was related to smoking.

4) Sports drinks are recommended only for vigorous, prolonged activity. Consuming them as a snack puts a child at risk for overstimulation of the nervous system.

It takes a high level of play to warrant the need for energy drinks. So soccer, baseball, T-ball and other league moms, go for the cases of water, oranges and other fruit as snacks. The kids may not like to lose the energy drinks and candy bars, but sometimes you have to be the grown up!

 

Source: Nicole Larson, Jessica DeWolfe, Mary Story, and Diane Neumark-Sztainer, Adolescent Consumption of Sports and Energy Drinks: Linkage to Higher Physical Activity, Unhealthy Beverage Patterns, Cigarette Smoking, and Screen Media Use. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 46, May-JUne 2014, 181-187

  • Linda Mintle

    We can agree that energy drinks are not intended or recommended for children, yet I see children and teens regular drinking these products. Also, this study is important because it is looking at associations. Just because causation isn’t proven doesn’t mean exploring the links is not important. So bottom line for me, parents, stop allowing your kids to consume these drinks!

  • http://www.ameribev.org/ American Beverage Association

    As we’ve consistently said, energy drinks are not intended or recommended for children. This fact is not only featured via an advisory statement on energy drink packaging, the industry has also voluntarily pledged not to sell or market these products to K-12 schools. In addition, readers might be interested to know that FDA-commissioned research has found that the majority of caffeine consumption among young adults ages 14 to 21 comes from beverages other than energy drinks. With respect to sports drinks, these beverages, just as with all calories, can be enjoyed in moderation as a part of an active life. Bottom line: this study fails to prove causation, yet leaps to conclusions. Let’s allow the facts, not emotion, to guide this discussion.
    -American Beverage Association

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