Energy Drinks – the effects on students…

I’ve not blogged for a while – so I’m starting again with something we as teachers are getting concerned about.

These last few years energy drinks are increasingly popular with youngsters. Advertising, sponsoring big events have made energy drinks a “Monster” of a problem in schools.

Red Bull was probably the first really popular energy drink. High in sugar and as much caffeine as a strong coffee, the 250ml cans perked you up and massive sales ensued (Red Bull now have enough money to sponsor a wide range of sports – including 2 F1 teams)

But the craze has spread and the cans have gotten bigger and so has the problem.

Members of the team would often complain of feeling dizzy, shaky and hyper during practice; sometimes they’d vomit in the middle of a workout. It was directly related to their consumption of energy drinks – Coach of Midlakes High School swimming team

Energy drinks are not the same as Sports Drinks – energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine. Energy drinks have “no therapeutic benefit” where as some sports drinks do. Most people would not guzzle several strong coffees in a quick succession – but that is the same as drinking a 500ml can of energy drink.

They may harm the health of children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders. Energy drink overdoses in children as young as 5 have been reported both here and abroad and in some cases have resulted in seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

Whenever I see students drinking these drinks I point out the warning “Not suitable for children”. Teachers often see the effects of students drinking energy drinks between lessons – brought into school by the students. Partly to blame is the marketing.

More than half the market is under 25 years of age and 30-50 percent of adolescents and young adults consume energy drinks. A quick perusal of packaging, websites and marketing material for the beverages shows they are clearly aimed at the youth market.

We learned far too late the effects of smoking on addicted teenagers – is this the start of the next big health issue?

Children, or other people sensitive to caffeine, should only consume in moderation drinks with high levels of caffeine – UK Food Standards Agency

Mr G

Sources: ABC News, Medical News Today, The Daily Mail, NHS.


One comment on “Energy Drinks – the effects on students…

  1. To be fair no sensible person who drinks them thinks they are like sports drinks. There is clearly a difference between the two and if you don’t realise that then you shouldn’t drink them. As for 5 year old’s drinking them; that’s their parents being irresponsible and not the fault of the child who knows no better. But drunk in moderation energy drinks are sometimes the only way to finish an assignment :p

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