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Are Energy Drinks Bad for Children?
Are Energy Drinks Bad for Children?

With promises that they’ll ‘give you wings’ is it any wonder that high caffeine energy drinks appeal to the younger generation? A new study says energy drinks should carry health warning labels because of the high caffeine content. WLR guest writer, Cara Frost-Sharratt investigates.

Are Energy Drinks Bad for Children?

By WLR Guest Writer, Cara Frost-Sharratt

A recent study conducted by John Hopkins University has concluded that energy drinks should be labelled with highly visible health warnings aimed at young people.

The study based its recommendations on research that discovered certain drinks contained as much as 14 times more caffeine than the average can of cola. This is the same as drinking seven cups of coffee.

Researchers tested 28 different energy drinks on the market and the conclusion is pretty astonishing.

Energy Drink Effects

Energy drinks seem to be promoted from one of two perspectives. One line of promotion veers towards a sports focus, indicating to the consumer that these drinks might enhance physical stamina. Then there is the ‘morning after’ approach, which offers up energy drinks as a means of coping with the after-effects of a big night out, or a way to give yourself a boost if you’re feeling tired or jaded.

WLR says . . .

Children and young people are extremely susceptible to advertising and peer pressure. A clever marketing campaign can very effectively harness their attention and affection towards a particular product and, subsequently, their cash.

However, whilst the image of an individual drink might captivate, most young people don’t wade their way through the ingredients list on a bottle or can before they buy it. Even if they did, would they be aware of the energy drink caffeine content and what it means?

Energy Drink Facts

An adult who has built up a certain tolerance to caffeine might be able to drink a number of cups of coffee over the course of a day without any ill effects. However, a child or adolescent drinking the equivalent of seven cups in one go is certainly cause for alarm.

Whilst we have become accustomed to hearing about the high amounts of sugar in fizzy drinks and the scary things that certain brands can do to grubby coins, caffeine content has, until now, largely been overlooked.

It is only relatively recently that it has become more of an issue that needs addressing, as an increasing number of energy drinks are released onto the market and their popularity rises.

Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?

The marketing behind many of these drinks has tapped into the adolescent psyche and they are extremely popular with young people. But this sudden rush of caffeine can have detrimental effects on behaviour and concentration and it seems that many schools have already realised the potentially harmful consequences.

So much so, that a number of schools around the country have now banned them, citing bad behaviour and an inability to concentrate after consuming the drinks, amongst the reasons. In some cases, it is individual brands of drink that have been banned.

This is going to make it an ongoing battle between the marketing executives and the schools, as Head Teachers must stay on top of trends and new launches in the energy drink market.

Useful Links

Press release from John Hopkins University

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