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Energy Drinks Overloading Kids with Excessive Caffeine

By Kai Wade - Director of Communications & Social Media | November 18th, 2014

Do you let your children join the rest of the world in a rising spectacle of energy drink consumption?

Pouring into US poison control centers, more than half of calls are centered on children younger than 6 suffering seizures and heart issues — resultant of energy drink ingestion of Red Bull and Monster.

The drinks are sold as dietary supplements and aren’t tightly regulated. In a recent study, researchers reinforce the idea that energy drinks are impairing children’s health and should carry explicit risk warnings. “People of all ages with underlying health conditions should be vigilant about the heavily caffeinated beverages,” stated Steven Lipshultz, Chairman of Pediatrics at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Data from the study was presented this week at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

Energy Drink Regulation

“Exposure to energy drinks is a continuing health problem,” stated Dr. Lipshultz, who is also Pediatrician-in-Chief at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “You normally think of teens and young adults as most likely to drink them, but we found that half of calls to U.S. poison control centers involved unintentional exposures by children less than 6 years old.”

The study analyzed 5,156 calls to poison control centers from October 2010 to September 2013 that exclusively involved energy drinks. While a majority of the calls for children younger than 6 resulted from accidental use, almost a third of the children had serious symptoms requiring treatment, including tremors or seizures, nausea and vomiting or chest pain and erratic heart rhythms.

The Food and Drug Administration began an investigation into caffeinated energy drinks in 2012 after reports of swelling number of emergency room visits were tied to the trending drinks. The American Medical Association has called for limiting sales for people under age 18. Previous studies of the energy drinks indicates the drink may boost blood pressure and trigger erratic heartbeats.

Health Conditions

Young children, expressly those with additional health issues like heart disease or seizure disorders, can be particularly vulnerable to energy drinks. More common and less obvious conditions, like a predisposition to diabetes or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can also make individuals more susceptible to the harmful side effects of the drinks, particularly if they are already taking medicine of any kind.

While the drink is more damaging to a child’s health, the drinks can have serious health effects for drinkers aged 20 and older — especially when combined with alcohol.

Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) and closely held Red Bull GmbH didn’t did not comment on the study. Monster previously stated it does not market its products to children and that its energy drinks are not highly caffeinated.

“This has no place in the diet of children and teenagers, and it shouldn’t be marketed at all to those under 18,” stated Dr. Lipshultz. “If the goal is to try to protect the public’s health, then these should be regulated similar to tobacco, alcohol and driving, so you have fewer kids winding up in the hospital or intensive care.”

To learn more about the harming effects of energy drinks, contact a cardiologist near you.



Bloomberg News

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