Pediatricians say kids, teens should avoid sports and energy drinks
TORONTO, ONT. — Kids and teens should not drink sports or energy drinks, the Canadian Paediatric Society says in a new position released recently that takes a stand against the sugary beverages.
Dr. Catherine Pound, coauthor of the statement and a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, says caffeinated energy drinks in particular can pose serious health risks and are unnecessary for most young people.
“I wouldn’t recommend them for anybody that fits our target population, which is anyone between the ages of zero and 18,” said Pound, noting that one can of energy drink contains more caffeine than the regular type of brewed coffee.
Too much can be deadly, as apparently was the case of a South Carolina teen who collapsed April 26 after downing an energy drink, a large pop and a cafe latte within a two-hour span.
Davis Cripe had no preexisting heart condition but likely died from a caffeine-induced heart arrhythmia, said the local coroner.
The Canadian Paediatric Soci- ety had no official position on the use of energy and sports drinks at the time, however had suggested young non-athletes avoid them.
It now explicitly makes the case against both caffeinated energy drinks and non- caffeinated sports drinks among youth, suggesting there are very few who would need such stimulants.
“A lot of people believe they’re essential as part of rehydration for sports. But what we’re finding is actually they’re not — water is ideal for rehydration in sport,” said Pound, adding that doctors should routinely screen for their use.
“Only in the very specific subset of the population will they be useful and that’s the population of children that will perform very vigorous activity for over an hour or in very hot and humid weather.”
The other danger is mixing energy drinks with alcohol, said Pound, adding that those who do so tend to participate in high-risk behaviour such as illicit drug use.
Empty beverage cups lie on the pavement during Tely 10 road race in St. John’s. Pedatricians say kids and teens should avoid energy drinks.