When we are at the supermarket, it’s hard to ignore the increasing number of colorfully marketed energy drinks lining the checkout area. And the marketing is working—as the sale of some sodas is falling, energy drinks seem to be everywhere. According to Abir, an industry beverage association, sales of energy drinks in Brazil increased by 325% from 2006 to 2010.
Teenagers are a prime target of energy drink advertising, naturally drawn to names such as Red Bull, TNT, and Monster. If you are a parent, you might be interested in a recent study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics. The report shows that these drinks might be doing more than giving teens a short-term boost, and are increasing their chances of hyperactivity or attention deficit syndrome.
The researchers from Yale University (USA) discovered that, among the 1,649 middle-school students surveyed, with an average age of 12.4 years old, that the children who consumed energy drinks were 66% more likely to suffer from hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder. The more energy drinks they consumed, the higher the risk.
Attention deficit syndrome makes teenagers more difficult to deal with at home, more likely to fail at school, and more likely to have conflicts with their peers. But the risks are greater than these social problems.
A Danish study just published in the medical journal The Lancet reported that, after examining nearly two million medical records, that children with attention deficit disorder had about twice the risk of dying young— before age 33 —than children without hyperactivity. It’s likely that hyperactive children take more risks in general, and reckless driving is one consequence. The risk of drug abuse is increased as well.
It makes sense that energy drinks might predispose to hyperactivity. A look at the ingredient list will typically show significant doses of caffeine, as well as other stimulants like taurine, as well as high doses of sugar. One can might have 40 grams of sugar, similar to many sodas, so besides making kids more jittery, they may be one reason our kids are getting fatter.
Various medical associations have made warnings about these drinks, and the authors of the Yale University study conclude that “Our results support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents should limit consumption of sweetened beverages and that children should not consume any energy drinks.”
Some European countries have already banned energy drink sales to minors below 18 years old. There are no restrictions on sales in Brazil or in the United States, so parents would be wise to pay attention to what their children are drinking, particularly if they already have signs of problems at home or school, or a history of reckless behavior.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)