Phone: 214-691-3535  •  After Hours Nurse: 855-456-6976  •  8325 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite #225, Dallas,TX 75231

Kids and Energy Robyn Lilly, CPNP-PC

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive


If you go into any local convenience or grocery store, chances are you will see the shelves stocked with various sorts of energy drinks all with claims to boost your energy, help you stay awake longer, help you perform better..... If you turn the label to look at the contents, they are mostly sugar and water and very large doses of caffeine (up to 3 times the amount found in colas) and other additives like taurine, guarana, L-carnitine, ginseng, and yohimbe. Many of these energy drinks' advertisement and marketing are directed at adolescents and kids. The biggest question is are these energy drinks safe for our children and teens?

A recent article in Pediatrics looks at the effects of these drinks on kids and teens. It is reported that around "30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults" have consumed these energy beverages. There have been 5,448 reported cases of caffeine overdose in the US (in 2007) and "46%" were in children younger than age 19. Pretty striking data regarding these drinks and who is consuming them. These energy drinks and their additive ingredients are not regulated by the FDA because many are labeled as natural dietary supplements. After consuming just one energy drink, most children and teens will have consumed well above the recommended caffeine intake for their age range leading to adverse caffeine related side effects. According to the USDA, adolescents should consume less than 100 mg per day of caffeine. Side effects from caffeine in children and teens include: increased activity, decreased reaction time, increased blood pressure, sleep disturbance, headaches (side effects and severity are dose dependent). Other potential problems that could be experienced as a result of excessive energy drink consumption include: cardiovascular issues, excessive calorie intake & obesity related to high sugar in these drinks, effects on bone health and bone mineralization, & interaction with medications for ADHD. It is important to remember energy drinks can contain caffeine equivalent to "14 cans of common caffeinated soft drinks" which can result in dangerously high caffeine levels. So the next time you and your child walk through the grocery or convenience store, remind your child or teen about the dangers of these beverages. Keep the lines of communication open so you are aware of the choices your child or teen makes regarding these beverages. These beverages have no therapeutic benefit and are not well studied and therefore a poor and potentially dangerous choice for developing children and teens.