The Harmful Effects of Energy Drinks on Teens

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A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics warns against the amount of caffeine and other stimulants being consumed by teens. Researchers looked at brands like Red Bull, Spike Shooter and Redline, and found cases of seizures, delusions, heart problems, and kidney or liver damage. These drinks can be particularly harmful to children and teens who have cardiovascular or diabetic conditions.

Here are some possible risks associated with consumption of energy drinks among children and teens:

  • Cardiovascular events (high doses of caffeine may have an adverse effect on heart conditions that prohibit the use of stimulants)
  • Effects on children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or eating disorders
  • Effects on calorie intake and diabetes
  • Effects on bone mineralization

The researchers also said that, although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the amount of caffeine in soft drinks such as colas, it does not regulate the amount in energy drinks. The researchers found that several countries and states have debated or restricted the sales and advertising of these drinks. For example, they reported that the UK’s Committee on Toxicity investigated Red Bull and determined that it was safe for the general public, but that children younger than 16 years old or people sensitive to caffeine should avoid drinks with high caffeine content.

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February 2011
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