Saturday - May 25, 2019

How Energy and Sports Drink Affect Your Teens Behavior?


teens drinking sports drink

Energy and sports drinks are very popular among adolescents.  This prompted researchers to conduct further studies about the health implications of constantly consuming these products. Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of energy and sports drinks can be linked to some negative behaviors among teenagers.

The research study was conducted by Nicole Larson and her team entitled “Adolescent Consumption of Sports and Energy Drinks: Linkages to Higher Physical Activity, Unhealthy Beverage Patterns, Cigarette Smoking, and Screen Media Use, which was recently published in the Journal of Nutrition and Behavior.  Larson and her team are associated with Duke University and University of Minnesota. According to Dr. Larson, the lead author from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, weekly consumption of energy drinks and sports drinks among teens can significantly influence the consumption of other kinds of sugar-sweetened beverages, screen media use and cigarette smoking.

Although, there is a decline of fruit drink and soft drink consumption, recent data showed that there is a tripled consumption of energy and sports drinks among teens.   The data poses an alarm among health professionals because these products have high caffeine, sugar and calorie content which is harmful to one’s health particularly in adolescents.  

The data for the study were obtained from Minnesota’s 20 public middle and high schools in the Minneapolis – St. Paul Metropolitan area. The population-based study was called Eating and Activity in Teens or EAT 2010.  Anthropometric measures and surveys were conducted among 2,793 adolescents from school year 2009 to 2010. 

The participant’s mean age was 14.4 years.  They were divided equally by gender and 81 percent of the participants are identified as ethnic or racial background other than the non-Hispanic white. The measured variables in the study are weight and height, frequency of consumption of breakfast, energy drinks and sports drinks, smoking status, watching television and playing video games, and time spent in physical activities. Though, sports drinks was used mostly when teens had a moderate to extreme physical activities and or after doing a sports activity, the researchers ensured that the general pattern of association in drinking these products should be related to unhealthy behaviors that are common among some teens.

Interestingly, the finding showed that weekly consumption of sports drinks was higher among boys.  They particularly consume sports drinks while TV viewing.  Researchers noted that these boys spent an additional one hour every week in watching TV as compared with other boys who consume less sports drinks in a week.  In addition, boys who take energy drinks regularly per week spent an additional four hours playing video games every week compared with those who take energy drinks in less amount per week.

Of note, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation that sports drinks should only be taken after a prolonged and vigorous activity.  On the other hand, energy drinks should be avoided because it offers no benefit because it can increase the risk of overstimulation of the activity of the nervous system. The researchers recommend having further intervention and research about clustering other health risk related behaviors and pursue more studies and awareness in promoting proper and healthy hydration among adolescents.

What is the Consequence of this Study?

The study has pointed out that energy drinks can make adolescents lazier.  It also contradicts the common notion of the teens that consuming energy drinks can actually help them feel more energized and focused.   The findings of Dr. Larson and her team has proven that this notion is faulty and opposite to the truth because these products can actually make adolescents tired, less healthy and lazier.

Even though, the manufacturers of these products advertise that these drinks are the secret to a high level of physical and mental performance, the new findings have shown that these drinks have actually opposite effect particularly on the teenagers.  Consumption of high-caffeine and high-sugar beverages can induced negative and poor behaviors like more time spent in television and playing video games, poor quality of sleep, increase consumption of sweetened beverages, less physical activities and smoking.

Health professionals pointed out that this study may serve as an awareness and reminder among parents to educate their kids on knowing what is good and bad for them.  Younger teens may have poor judgment when it comes to choosing what drinks are healthy or unhealthy for them.  Parents should inform their kids about proper nutrition so the habit of healthy living can be ingrained in their system for a long-term scale.

People should be aware that there is no documented study on the possible long-term effects of drinking these beverages.  Thus, healthcare professionals are not sure on the possible positive or negative effects of these drinks on the overall health of the adolescent’s body.  Consuming drinks with high sugar and caffeine at a young age may affect the cardiovascular system which may increase the blood pressure levels. 

It can also affect the nervous system and may also lead to arrhythmias. Further studies are required to study the possible long-term effects of energy and sports drinks, because up to date researchers have no solid evidence whether long-term consumption is good or bad for health.