Report: Avoid Sports Drinks for Kids

Next time you head to the soccer field with a cooler of drinks for your child’s team, you might want to stick with something simple and hydrating: water.
Although many children love the taste of sports drinks – they’re usually sweet – they rarely need them, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Parents should also be wary of giving their children energy drinks because they can contain harmful substances, according to a news release.
Some energy drinks have more than 500 mg of caffeine, the amount of caffeine in 14 cans of soda.
“There is a lot of confusion about sports drinks and energy drinks, and adolescents are often unaware of the differences in these products,” said Dr. Marcie Beth Schneider, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and co-author of the report, in a news release.
“Some kids are drinking energy drinks – containing large amounts of caffeine – when their goal is simply to rehydrate after exercise,” she said. “This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous.”
Sports drinks also contain extra calories that can contribute to obesity and tooth decay, according to Dr. Holly Benjamin, a member of the executive committee of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.
“It’s better for children to drink water during and after exercise, and to have the recommended intake of juice and low-fat milk with meals,” said Benjamin, who also co-authored the report, in the news release. “Sports drinks are not recommended as beverages to have with meals.”
Highlights from the report include:
  • Doctors should inform parents and their patients about the potential health risks of energy drinks and the differences that exist between them and sports beverages.
  • Children and adolescents should never consume energy drinks because of the stimulants they contain.
  • Sports drinks can increase the risk of becoming overweight or obese as well as contribute to tooth decay.
  • Water should be the principal source of hydration.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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