Energy drinks have fun names, but for kids, they can have some seriously scary side effects. I chatted with pediatric Sports Medicine specialist, Mo Mortazavi, MD with Banner Children’s at Diamond Children’s Medical Center, and he shared some startling information.
“While energy drinks are often viewed as an easy and harmless way to get a quick boost, every year healthy, young people die from the stimulants used in these drinks,” said Dr. Mortazavi.
Although caffeine is the most common stimulant in energy drinks, many other stimulants are used without proof of effectiveness or safety. Plus, there’s no evidence to suggest that children benefit from energy drinks.
Rather, Dr. Mortazavi says, multiple studies have shown significant side effects with even mild caffeine consumption in kids. Caffeine side effects include jitters, anxiety, heart palpitations, stomach upset and insomnia.
And it can get worse. Excessive consumption can potentially lead to dehydration, heart arrhythmias and catastrophic cardiac events.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no caffeine use in those under the age of 18 – especially during sports or activity, given the increased risk of dehydration and sudden cardiac events associated with stimulant use.
Dr. Mortazavi recommends rather than downing an energy drink, “Drink plenty of water, make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep, and maintain a complete and diverse diet with fresh foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.”
If you need help motivating your child to drink water and eat healthier, try our GO KIDS! Food Challenge. This four-week challenge is designed to help kids and families eat healthier and feel better by drinking more water, introducing new veggies and other simple changes.
However, if your child has made positive changes and is still struggling with low energy levels, be sure to discuss this with his or her pediatrician.