New Report Urges Kids and Teens to Avoid Energy, Sports Drinks

June 1, 2011

Instead, the authors recommend water for moderately active youth.

In a new report published in Pediatrics, doctors from the American Academy of Pediatrics warn children and teens to avoid heavily consuming energy and sports drinks, Reuters reports. Instead, the authors recommend water for moderately active youth.

Regarding energy drinks, the authors say that the stimulant ingredients are inappropriate-and possibly pose side effects-for young children.

“Children never need energy drinks,” Reuters quoted Holly Benjamin, MD, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who contributed to the report, as saying. “They contain caffeine and other stimulants substances that aren’t nutritional, so you don’t need them.”

Meanwhile, in light of growing obesity rates in youth, the authors dissuade giving children sports drinks due to the often high-calorie content of such beverages.

“The primary objectives of this clinical report are to define the ingredients of sports and energy drinks, categorize the similarities and differences between the products, and discuss misuses and abuses. Secondary objectives are to encourage screening during annual physical examinations for sports and energy drink use, to understand the reasons why youth consumption is widespread, and to improve education aimed at decreasing or eliminating the inappropriate use of these beverages by children and adolescents. Rigorous review and analysis of the literature reveal that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents,” the authors wrote.

Reuters reports that U.S. sales of non-alcoholic energy drinks are expected to reach $9 billion this year. Children and young adults comprise half of the market.