AAP: Children should avoid energy, sports drinks

June 1, 2011

Elk Grove Village, IL – Children generally do not need to consume sports or energy drinks and, in many cases, these drinks may contain harmful ingredients, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned May 31.

According to a recent study, adolescents often are unaware of the differences between sports drinks and energy drinks, leading them to consume drinks containing large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants in an attempt to simply rehydrate after exercise. Although sports drinks – which do not contain such stimulants – can be helpful for rehydration after vigorous activity, AAP said plain water is sufficient in most cases.

“Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need, and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay,” said study co-author Holly J. Benjamin, M.D. “It’s better for children to drink water during and after exercise, and to have the recommended intake of juice and low-fat milk with meals.”

The report was published in the journal Pediatrics.