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Are energy drinks still enjoyed by teens harmful to their health?

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Energy drinks might be harmful to the health of most, yet it seems teenagers are still purchasing as many as they did before warnings about energy drinks were issued.

Some would like to see energy drinks limited to adults only, making it impossible for teens to purchase the drinks with the assistance of an adult.

According to HealthyChildren.org children are sometimes drinking energy drinks which can contain unhealthy amounts of caffeine. The following details were provided on the HealthyChildren.org site:

There is a lot of confusion about sports drinks and energy drinks, and adolescents are often unaware of the differences in these products," said Marcie Beth Schneider, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and co-author of the report. "Some kids are drinking energy drinks - containing large amounts of caffeine - when their goal is simply to rehydrate after exercise. This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous."

Sports drinks and energy drinks are different products, said Holly J. Benjamin, MD, FAAP, a member of the executive committee of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, and a co-author of the report. Sports drinks, which contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring, are intended to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise. Sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but in most cases they are unnecessary on the sports field or the school lunchroom.

The details seem to imply there may be a place for sports drinks when it comes to those who are involved in physically challenging activities. The stimulants, including caffeine which is in many sports drinks or energy drinks are not a healthy choice for children.

While the discussion of energy drinks and teens continues, some may feel the facts are not important. Caffeine is not something anyone wants teens to overuse and it does happen. Because teens can buy energy drinks almost anywhere, the only way to stop the purchase of the drinks by teens at this time is to have the teens make the choice not to buy energy drinks.

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