The Canadian Pediatric Society has laid out new guidelines for parents concerning the consumption of energy and sports by children and teens. The overall message of their position statement is that most children and young teens should not consume energy or sports drinks and that companies that supply them should no longer gear marketing towards children.
A primary ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, a supplement used to diminish fatigue and restore concentration. But the high caffeine content along with other secondary ingredients has a greater stimulating effect on children due to their lower body-mass. Sports drinks are often consumed after or during exercise to restore electrolytes and assist muscle recovery. These types of beverages also contain a large amount of sugar, which contribute to conditions such as diabetes and obesity and can also cause dental issues.
“The vast majority of children should really just hydrate with water. It’s the best thing for them,” says Dr. Catherine Pound, co-author of this statement and pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Consuming large amounts of caffeine in a short period of time can lead to some very adverse side effects, such as anxiety, heart rhythm abnormalities, and in some extreme cases, death. Diarrhea, vomiting, and irritability are also cited as side-effects.
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