Sports and Energy Drinks


  • Sports and energy drinks are increasingly popular with children.  A new report says most children should not drink them, even if they are very active.  
  • Energy drinks contain stimulants like caffeine; and some of the energy drinks contain so much of them, that it is equal to drinking up to 14 cans of caffeinated soda.  Scientists say caffeine can affect the development of a child’s nervous system and cardiovascular system. 

  • Energy Drinks come with a consequences to children, teens and young adults.  Research has proven that energy drinks are bad for the hearts of youth.  One in five 8th graders drinks an energy drink every day.  While most adults can tolerate a slight change in heart rate, teens who are inexperienced with caffeine, have a stronger reaction with the potential to cause severe cardiac events, especially among those with heart problems. 

    Teens are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, in part because their body mass is lower, and in part because the majority of teens are relatively caffeine naïve compared to adults.  A new study shows energy drinks have an immediate impact on heart rhythm and cause an increase in blood pressure.

    The best advice,
    especially for teens, is just to make sure you limit your caffeine consumption.  Mary Claire O’Brien, MD, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reported on KHQ MD, March 23, 2013

  • Many parents and coaches encourage kids to consume energy drinks as performance-enhancing drugs, which is what energy drinks truly are. Kids’ bodies cannot handle large doses of caffeine all at once.  The amount of caffeine is often not labeled in energy drinks.   We are unwisely saying to a child, "When you are tired, don't take a nap.  Drink a drink.  When you have worked hard, and it is time to go to bed and you want to do more, have a supplement, so you can do more."  That is not the right message, and it is harming kids as evidenced by the large number of energy room visits.  My advice to kids:  Eat real food, drink water and milk, and go to bed on time."  (Dr. David Agus, CBS News, August 1, 2013)

  • Unintentional Poisoning.   The data from more than 50 poison control centers in the U.S. reported that over the last 2 years, more than half of all calls were energy drink-related.  Symptoms were jittery behavior, rapid heart rates, high blood pressure, dangerously high blood sugar levels in diabetic children, seizures, and dangerous heart rhythms.  These incidents  occurred in children less than age 6.  A high number of those calls were directed by the Poison Control Center to seek medical help. 

    “The FDA advises that certain people, including children and pregnant women, limit consumption of products containing caffeine, including energy drinks.”     Dr. Steven Lipshultz, Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Oz Show, March 26, 2013
Statistics
  • Energy drinks caused 20,000 emergency room visits in 2011. 

  • Risks of too much caffeine in kids.  Heart arrhythmia, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, panic syndrome, and changes in blood pressure. 

  • The amount of caffeine in energy drinks is often not labeled.  They contain more than twice the amount of caffeine as an 8 oz. cup of coffee (100 mg).  Coca Cola's NOS contains 260 mg, and Monster's Worx contains 200 mg. caffeine. 
What You Can Do
  • Pediatricians say the best way to keep young people hydrated is just plain water before, during and after practice.   (American Academy of Pediatrics, and KREM-2 TV, May 2011
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