Energy and sports drinks in children and adolescents

Sports drinks and caffeinated energy drinks (CEDs) are commonly consumed by youth. Both sports drinks and CEDs pose potential risks for the health of children and adolescents and may contribute to obesity. Sports drinks are generally unnecessary for children engaged in routine or play-based physical activity. CEDs may affect children and adolescents more than adults because they weigh less and thus experience greater exposure to stimulant ingredients per kilogram of body weight. Paediatricians need to recognize and educate patients and families on the differences between sport drinks and CEDs. Screening for the consumption of CEDs, especially when mixed with alcohol, should be done routinely. The combination of CEDs and alcohol may be a marker for higher risk of substance use or abuse and for other health-compromising behaviours.

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