Calls to ban energy drinks for children grow louder | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 20.09.2018
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Calls to ban energy drinks for children grow louder

Energy and soft drinks are known to contribute to the rise in obesity worldwide. They can be especially harmful to children. It is no wonder, therefore, that the call to ban them for people under 16 is getting louder.

Children should not be consuming energy drinks due to their combined content of sugar and caffeine, says Professor Russel Viner of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in the UK.

Read more: Poison candy: Are chocolates, sweets and sugary snacks ever healthy?

In high income countries, children eat and drink too much sugar and calories as it is. It is unlikely, therefore, that they need to consume more energy.

The high sugar content in energy drinks – and soft drinks – is contributing to the rise in childhood obesity worldwide, which is estimated to surpass 70 million by 2025.

Caffeine, used globally to boost activity and attention spans, is also known to cause anxiety and sleep problems. In children, caffeine is known to increase behavioral issues and affect the developing brain.

Read more: WHO: Curb ads for junk food, sweets and beer to fight obesity

Professor Viner argues that children should get enough energy from "a good diet, refreshing sleep, exercise and, most importantly, interaction with other people."

He is campaigning to ban the sale of energy drinks to children in the UK. Other countries have already implemented this ban.

In general, adults and children alike should stay away from energy and soft drinks, as they can increase the obesity risk and cause anxiety and sleep disorders.

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