More reasons teens should steer clear of sports and energy drinks
New research published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior has found “a link between smoking, high consumption of other sugary drinks, and prolonged time watching TV or playing video games with weekly consumption of sports and energy drinks.”
The researchers gathered data from 2,793 adolescents across 20 public middle and high schools during the 2009-10 school year, and found that weekly consumption of sports and energy drinks was significantly associated with other unhealthy behaviors.
“Among boys, weekly sports drink consumption was significantly associated with higher TV viewing compared with boys who consumed sports drinks less than once per week,” said lead author Nicole Larson, PhD, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, in a recent press release. “Boys who consumed energy drinks at least weekly spent approximately 4 additional hours per week playing video games compared with those who consumed energy drinks less than once per week.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, both sports and energy drinks pose a health risk to children and teens. “Pediatric athletes can benefit from using sports drinks that contain carbohydrates, protein, or electrolytes; however, for the average child engaged in routine physical activity, the use of sports drinks in place of water on the sports field or in the school lunchroom is generally unnecessary. Stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children or adolescents.”
Further, energy drinks have been associated with increased emergency department visits, which doubled from 10,000 visits in 2007 to nearly 21,000 visits in 2011 due to misuse or overconsumption of energy drinks.
In 2013, a letter sent to the FDA on behalf of a number of physicians, public health officials and researchers called for a limit to the amount of caffeine in popular energy drinks. The letter also stated, “The consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks has been associated with elevated blood pressure, altered heart rates and severe cardiac events in children and young adults, especially those with underlying cardiovascular diseases.”
“The caffeine in many of these drinks is not healthy for teens,” says Amy Strutzel, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “It can disrupt sleep patterns, lead to insomnia, erratic energy levels, mood swings and even difficulties staying awake at school or while driving.”
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