Energy drinks not for kids, experts warn

Energy drinks, one of the fastest growing beverages in the market, are getting increasingly popular among kids and adolescents.

But consuming such energy drinks regularly or gulping down a large amount in a short span of time could pose a serious health risk, researchers have warned.

Loaded with liquid caffeine, the drinks intend to give an instant energy boost. Although designed for athletes and other typical working-class professionals, the drinks are now being consumed by students and children alike.

“These drinks are made for adults,” Bruce Ruck, director of drug information and professional education for the New Jersey Poison Information & Education System (NPIES) at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, marked. “When young children drink them, they consume a large quantity of caffeine for their body mass. At the minimum, they become wired — just as an adult would — and it might be difficult for parents to console them or calm them down.”

“Children also might have trouble falling asleep or experience tremors, anxiety, agitation, heart palpitations, nausea or vomiting,” he added. “Of more concern, they may experience a rapid heart rate or seizures.”

Rising concern
Energy drinks, on average, has about 500mg of caffeine. This is equivalent to about five cups of coffee.

Regular and rapid ingestion of such huge amounts of caffeine is taxing for the body and can result in toxicity, experts aver.

The drink may prove even more harmful if it is mixed with alcohol or punishing workouts. Steven Marcus, executive and medical director of NPIES, underlined the inherent risk for the teens and young adults. “This is when high school and collegiate athletes start their ramp up. The use of energy drinks coupled with strenuous exercise in hot weather can produce a potentially fatal situation.”

According to a recent report published in the journal Pediatrics, nearly 50 percent of US adolescents and young adults drink energy drinks on a regular basis.

Ruck recommends that parents should consider energy drinks just as any medication. It should be stored out of reach of children and consumed only under adult supervision.

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