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Prevention Presents: Energy Drinks & Youth

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 eric-dale
Energy Drinks & Youth 
Eric Dale
Prevention Specialist

Did you know eleven percent of energy drink related Emergency Room visits involved youth aged 12-17 years old and 75 percent of those visits were due to energy drink intake alone? With summer in full swing, teens may reach for an energy drink to find that extra jolt.  Energy drinks have tons of flavors, the cans look cool, the advertisements appeal to young people, they claim to contain “healthy” vitamins, and, of course, promise to boost energy.  But, how safe are energy drinks for youth consumption?

Energy drinks are not only detrimental to their health, but for the most part are counterproductive.  Energy drinks can contain up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per serving, compared to about 150 mg in a typical cup of coffee.  There is no doubt energy drinks can give you a boost of energy, but with a higher artificial boost, comes a harder crash. Some of the side effects are less severe than others, but there are many health problems that can arise from drinking energy drinks: 

  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Jitters and Nervousness
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Allergies
  • Vomiting
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Drug Interaction
  • Addiction
  • Risky Behavior
  • Niacin Overdose
  • Cardiac Arrest

While energy drinks are clearly not the healthiest way to boost energy, there are safer, productive options available:

  • Drink more water (seriously!)
  • Get more sleep (who doesn’t want that?)
  • Morning exercise can boost your energy the whole day
  • Green Tea
  • Protein Shakes (Research first)
  • Homemade juices and smoothies

When it comes to Energy Drinks, clearly the reward isn’t worth the risk, especially when things like drinking more water and getting enough sleep can make an even larger impact on a person’s energy levels. Parents can help their teens kick the energy drink habit by setting an example and eliminating similar drinks from their own day to day activities. Instead, focus on healthy hydration, sleep, and exercise as natural ways to boost energy for the whole family. 

 

 

Sources: 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065144/

https://www.ncsf.org/enew/articles/articles-youthenergydrinks.aspx

http://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/caffeine-health-news-89/young-children-energy-drinks-a-dangerous-mix-693684.html

 

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