Energy drinks and their long-term health effects on children have always been a center of debate and discussion in the United States. While proponents of the theory argue that the ill effects energy drinks cause in children are too meager to be deemed a threat, an equally large number of people hold a completely polar view.
According to them, there are indeed long term health implications of energy drinks on children and that conditions like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) could be triggered by consistent consumption of such drinks by young school-going children.
Over the past few years, several studies have been conducted to ascertain the effects of energy drinks and beverages with high sugar and caffeine content on middle-school children. Many of those studies have found a close link between occurrences of ADHD and the level of consumption of energy drinks. The findings of a recent study by a research team from Yale University is also increasingly pointing towards a similar inference.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the study was led by Yale University professor Jeannette Ickovics, director of CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement) at the School of Public Health.
As part of the study, over 1,649 middle-school students randomly selected from a single urban school district in Connecticut were were surveyed. Post the study, it was found that over those children who consume “heavily sweetened energy drinks” are 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity (ADHD) and inattention symptoms. In fact, authors of the study have gone ahead and recommended a complete avoidance of energy drinks thanks to their high sugar and caffeine content. Apart from an increased risk of ADHD, the research team also found some other interesting statistics.
Boys were more at risk from ADHD, owing to the fact that they were more likely to consume energy drinks than girls. Among boys, it was found that black and Hispanic boys were more likely to consume energy drinks than their white peers, and consequently, they were at more risk from ADHD.
Note that the average age of the students involved in this study was 12.4 years old.
“As the total number of sugar-sweetened beverages increased, so too did risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms among our middle-school students. Importantly, it appears that energy drinks are driving this association,” said Ickovics. “Our results support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents should limit consumption of sweetened beverages and that children should not consume any energy drinks.”
While the study already recommends keeping children away from energy drinks due to their ADHD risks, the group behind it does admit that more research would be needed to arrive at a conclusion. Further studies will help researchers better understand the effects of such drinks on kids and prevalence of ADHD among such kids. Nevertheless, they do claim that previous studies conducted by other researchers have found deep connection between energy drinks and ADHD among kids anyway.
Are you a parent worried about your child and the risk posed by ADHD due to consumption of energy drinks? Let us know in the comments![Photo By John Moore/ Getty Images]