Ban sale of energy drinks to children, experts say
The sale of energy drinks to children under 16 should be banned following studies linking them to a range of health complaints and dangerous behaviour, according to a report.
A review of worldwide evidence on energy drinks linked them to health complaints such as headaches, stomach aches and sleeping problems.
Emergency department visits associated with their consumption in the US also doubled between 2007 and 2011
They are additionally associated with binge drinking and drug use, according to the report published by the Food Research Collaboration, an initiative of the Centre for Food Policy at City University London.
The paper, which was written by Dr Shelina Visram from Durham University and Kawther Hashem from the health charity Action on Sugar, said that consumption among children globally was growing, with the 10 to 14-year-old group expected to increase its energy drinks intake by 11% over the five years to 2019.
A survey involving 16 European countries, including the UK, found that 68% of 11 to 18-year-olds and 18% of children aged 10 and under consumed energy drinks, with 11% of the older group and 12% of children drinking at least a litre in one session.
The report said more research was needed on how high levels of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks interacted with each other and with other stimulants such as taurine and guarana.
A single can of popular energy drinks on the market can contain around 160mg of caffeine. However, the European Food Safety Authority recommends an intake of no more than 105mg of caffeine per day for an average 11-year-old.
Dr Visram said: "Action is needed by local and national government to restrict the sale and marketing of these drinks to young people."