Energy drinks may pose a risk for serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders. A new study, Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, in the March issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 14), determined that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events.

Youth account for half of the energy drink market, and according to surveys, 30 percent to 50 percent of adolescents report consuming energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks contain high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine, and guarana, and safe consumption levels have not been established for most adolescents. Because energy drinks are frequently marketed to athletes and at-risk young adults, it is important for pediatric health care providers to screen for heavy use both alone and with alcohol, and to educate families and children at-risk for energy drink overdose, which can result in seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics

"The Epilepsy Foundation concurs with the American Academy of Pediatrics in that we believe that physicians should review the risks of energy drinks with their patients and we encourage further research on the topic." Joseph Sirven, M.D., Chair-elect of the Epilepsy Foundation's Professional Advisory Board


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