Sports and energy drinks are being marketed to children for a wide variety of inappropriate uses according to the Committee of Nutrition and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. According to a recent survey of 78 adolescents, 56% used sports drinks and 42% consumed energy drinks over a two week period. Promote water, not sports or energy drinks, as the principle source of hydration for adolescents during physical activity. Read more to find out why.
Sports drinks are flavored beverages that often contain carbohydrates, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. For the average child engaged in routine physical activity, the use of sports drinks is generally unecessary. Most of the nutrients found in sports drinks should come from a well balanced diet. Excessive caloric intake can result from the daily consumption of carbohydrate containing beverages such as sports drinks, energy drinks and soft drinks, which may contribute to obesity. For young athletes involved in prolonged and vigorous sports, it may be okay to consume sports drinks with proper supervision, but it is never appropriate to consume energy drinks. Today's energy drinks contain substances that act as non-nutritive stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, taurine and creatine. Energy drinks pose potential health risks because of the stimulant content.
Since the consumption of energy drinks is increasing among children, it is important for coaches, guardians and parents to remember to do the following.
- Have water available at no cost
- Restrict sports drinks to use by athletes only during prolonged, vigorous sports activities
- Prohibit energy drink usage even for athletes
- Prohibit the use of any beverage that contains caffeine or other stimulants
Remember to promote water, not sports or energy drinks, as the principle source of hydration for children before, during and after exercise.