A Drink to Start: The Ban of Energy Drinks
“Not recommended for children” is what is said on the back of every energy drink being sold, yet you can always see one in the hand of a child. A child can easily walk into any gas station or corner store and purchase an energy drink. The discussion of banning energy drinks has gained popularity in recent times. This topic strongly relates to parents of young children under the age of 16. Children that drink these energy drinks don’t pay attention to the contents of energy drinks or the effects it has on their body. The levels of caffeine and sugar can cause many problems such as mental illness, physical illness, and change of behavior. Children say they feel fine when they drink these beverages but are, they really? Banning the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of sixteen we can prevent them from harming themselves too much.
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Many kids that drink energy drinks don’t realize the change in behavior, especially during school. Former teacher Laura Douglas discusses the behavioral changes that she has seen in her students on a broadcast with This Morning Show. “I’ve had chairs thrown at me, swearing, Fighting and sexual remarks made towards me.” (Should Energy Drinks Be Banned for Under 16's? | This Morning, Uploaded by This Morning) The children’s behavior changes after a can of energy drinks and they don’t realize it. Many of them can’t control themselves when they have a can of red bull in their system. “oh, sorry miss I’ve had loads of red bull this morning.” (Should Energy Drinks Be Banned for Under 16's? | This Morning, Uploaded by This Morning) These underage children, drink energy drinks and then act crazy because they can't handle what the energy drinks do to their behavior. It makes them more aggressive and violent. Children that drink energy drinks get a caffeine buzz, which is similar to being drunk. Kids don’t realize the change in how they are acting they think it is normal. Children that drink energy drinks say they need them to stay awake or pay attention in class after staying up all night. As children there aren’t many responsibilities put on them, they are still under their parent’s care.
What causes the change of behavior in these children is what most people ask. The simple answer is the sugar and caffeine content in energy drinks. There is a large amount of both the products in energy drinks. Each brand of energy drinks uses a different amount of caffeine and sugar. “In a two hundred and fifty milliliters can of Red Bull there are eighty milligrams of caffeine and twenty-seven grams of sugar.” (Therrien, 2018) The most popular brands with children are Red Bull and Monster. “In a five hundred milliliter can of Monster there is a hundred and sixty milligrams of caffeine and fifty-five grams of sugar.” (Therrien,2018) That amount of caffeine is too much for any child to handle. These large amounts of caffeine and sugar give children a super boost of energy early on but then leaves them feeling dead later on. The kids don’t know how to contain all the energy the just received from the drinks and release it in any way possible. Adolescents between the age of eleven and eighteen should have less than a hundred milligrams of caffeine. People say that children can buy a can of Red Bull in the morning but, are they going to buy just one and do they know how to control themselves. The two hundred and fifty milliliters can of Red Bull is only eight fluid ounces. Most kids will grab the medium sized can which is twelve fluid ounces and contains one hundred and eleven milligrams of caffeine which is above the recommended limit. There is also the sugar aspect of the Red bull. The eight fluid ounce can contain twenty-seven grams of sugar The American Heart Association recommends that children should consume less than twenty-five grams of sugar. By buying the smallest size of Red Bull kids are already over the recommended amount. A can of Monster energy drink contains one hundred and sixty milligrams of caffeine which is sixty milligrams over the recommended amount. Monster also has fifty-five grams of sugar which are more the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. Children don’t pay attention to the amount of caffeine and sugar in the energy drinks, they quickly walk in a corner store or gas station and go.
How do all the caffeine and sugar affect children and adolescents? “heavy caffeine consumption, such as drinking energy drinks, has been associated with serious consequences such as seizures, mania, stroke, and sudden death.” (Seifert et al.) Kids that heavily rely on energy drinks might experience some of the side effects. Consuming more than the recommended amount of caffeine can cause damage to the children’s bodies the damage won’t happen right away but over time. The issue of kids drinking caffeine isn’t only in America it is all over the world. “Germany has tracked energy drink-related incidents since 2002. Reported outcomes include liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, seizures, psychotic conditions, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, cardiac dysrhythmias, hypertension, heart failure, and death.” (Seifert et al.) by banning the sale of energy drinks to children we can lower the chances of them getting any of the sicknesses above. Kids that drink large amounts of energy drink are slowly killing themselves. The high amounts of caffeine can cause cardiovascular problems at a young age. “Recently, Berger and Alford reported on the cardiac arrest of a healthy 28-year-old man after consuming seven to eight cans of a caffeinated ‘energy drink’” (Wolk, Ganetsky, and Babu). If a cardiac arrest can happen to a fully-grown healthy man than imagine what it can do to teenagers who are still growing. This goes on to show that energy drinks should not be sold to anyone sixteen and younger. This is just how energy drinks affect children and adolescents physical.
There is also the matter of how energy drinks affect children mental. You might be asking how energy drinks affect children mentally. “Energy drink consumption was also associated with multiple indicators of adolescent mental health. Students in the high-frequency group for energy drink consumption reported greater depressive symptoms (P < 0.001), greater emotional difficulties (P < 0.001) and lower levels of well‐being (P < 0.001) than students who did not consume energy drinks” (Utter et al.). As the study shows the more energy drinks children drink the more mentally unstable, they become. If you take a look at kids who don’t drink energy drinks the difference is night and day. Kids that don’t drink energy drinks are happier and healthier. No parent wants their child to be sick mentally or physically by allowing easy cases for kids to buy energy drinks we are destroying their future. “Regular ED consumption among adolescents was found to be associated with cardiovascular problems, diabetes [12, 19, 31, 36] and depression . Behavioral correlates were also found” (Kolarcik et al.). Many researchers come up with the same answer energy drinks are bad for children’s health. If kids are casually drinking energy drinks the will harm their mental being. “adolescent consumption of energy drinks alone also poses considerable health risks. Eleven percent of total ER visits related to energy drink consumption involved youth aged 12–17 years and 75 percent of those visits were due to energy drink intake alone” (Pomeranz, Munsell, and Harris). Allowing kids to drink energy drinks will send them to the emergency room.
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As the research above stated energy drinks are very harmful to children’s health. To keep on letting them drink it will cause many health issues for them later on in their lives. The children themselves don’t know how to control themselves while having caffeine running in their system. By allowing children to continue drinking energy drinks we are letting them drink themselves closer to death. Doctors have listed many illnesses that energy drinks cause such as liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, seizures, psychotic conditions, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, cardiac dysrhythmias, hypertension, heart failure, and death. Energy drinks also damage the mental health of children and adolescents. It can make them show depressive symptoms and lower mental well-being. If energy drinks do so much damage to children, why are we letting them drink them? Large energy drink companies such as Red Bull or Monster profit of children that don’t know what they are putting in their bodies. They make advertisements targeting young children so they can rake in the money while children are slowly killing themselves. If we ban the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of sixteen, we can save their lives and their future.
- Kolarcik, Peter et al. "Regular Energy Drink Consumption Is Associated With The Risk Of Health And Behavioural Problems In Adolescents." Search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.
- Pomeranz, Jennifer, Christina Munsell, and Jennifer Harris. "Energy Drinks: An Emerging Public Health Hazard For Youth." Search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.
- Seifert, Sara et al. "Health Effects Of Energy Drinks On Children, Adolescents, And Young Adults." Pediatrics-aappublications-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu. N.p., 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2019.
- Therrien, Alex. "Energy Drinks Ban For Children Proposed." BBC News. N.p., 2018. Web. 16 Nov. 2019.
- Utter, Jennifer et al. "Energy Drink Consumption Among New Zealand Adolescents: Associations With Mental Health, Health Risk Behaviours And Body Size." Onlinelibrary-wiley-com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.
- Wolk, Brian, Michael Ganetsky, and Kavita Babu. "Toxicity Of Energy Drinks." Up7af9tu5s.search.serialssolutions.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2019.
- “ Should Energy Drinks Be Banned for Under 16's? | This Morning.” Should Energy Drinks Be Banned for Under 16's? | This Morning, YouTube, 28 Jan. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RNqUoCpwao.
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