En­ergy drinks to be banned for chil­dren

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk News - Dan Sab­bagh

Min­is­ters will ban the sale of Red Bull, Mon­ster En­ergy and other en­ergy drinks to chil­dren in Eng­land amid grow­ing con­cern about the im­pact of high-caffeine, high-sugar drinks on young peo­ple’s health.

A con­sul­ta­tion on how to im­ple­ment the pro­posed ban will be un­veiled on Thurs­day, with Down­ing Street in­di­cat­ing that the prin­ci­pal ques­tion is whether pur­chas­ing re­stric­tions will end at age 16 or 18.

Theresa May said the con­sul­ta­tion was linked to the gov­ern­ment’s child­hood obe­sity strat­egy and it was nec­es­sary to ex­am­ine the con­sump­tion of en­ergy drinks “of­ten be­cause they are sold at cheaper prices than soft drinks”. The main jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ban is the high level of caffeine in en­ergy drinks, which has been linked to health prob­lems for chil­dren, in­clud­ing head and stom­ach aches, as well as hy­per­ac­tiv­ity and sleep prob­lems.

A 250ml can of Red Bull con­tains about 80mg of caffeine, roughly the same as a sim­i­larly sized cup of cof­fee, but three times the level of Coca-Cola. Mon­ster En­ergy, of­ten sold in larger cans of 500ml, has 160mg of caffeine.

En­ergy drinks of­ten also have higher lev­els of sugar than soft drinks. Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures, sug­ared en­ergy drinks have 60% more calo­ries and 65% more sugar than nor­mal soft drinks, and sugar is one of the largest causes of obe­sity. Jamie Oliver, the chef and food health cam­paigner, wel­comed the prospect of a ban on en­ergy drink sales be­cause “too many chil­dren are reg­u­larly us­ing them to re­place break­fast” and “teach­ers from across the coun­try have told me how their lessons are dis­rupted be­cause of these drinks, packed with stim­u­lants”. Some ma­jor re­tail­ers al­ready ban sales of en­ergy drinks to young­sters, but cheap prices in other out­lets mean con­sump­tion by chil­dren in the UK is es­ti­mated to be 50% ahead of other EU coun­tries.

Two-thirds of chil­dren aged 10 to 17 and a quar­ter of six- to nine-year-olds con­sume en­ergy drinks, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.