Clinical Report: Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate?Committee on Nutrition and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness
SummarySports drinks and energy drinks are now popular beverages in the United States, particularly among children and adolescents. Kids consume sports and energy drinks as a way to stay hydrated during athletics or other activities. However, careful consideration is necessary when selecting a beverage to hydrate before, during, or after exercise to prevent excessive sugar and caloric intake that may encourage dental erosion and obesity.
The Committee on Nutrition and The Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reviewed literature from 2000-2009 regarding the use of such drinks in the child and adolescent populations and recommended the following:
- Consumption of sports and energy drinks is not advocated in children and adolescents unless they are participating in prolonged and strenuous physical activities.
- Instead of sports and energy drinks, increased fluid intake before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration with regular water should be recommended.
- Children and adolescents should avoid exposure to excess sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, and other stimulants that are contained in many of these drinks due to the potential for a number of deleterious health effects.
ViewpointThe AAP promotes education and counseling of patients, parents, schools, and coaches about fluid intake for children and adolescents. The AAP also continues to advocate the use of water over sports and energy drinks for hydration purposes.
Poor dietary habits have contributed to increased obesity rates in children and adolescents in recent years, and the intake of excess carbohydrates without an appropriate sustained increase in activity level is not recommended given the main requirement of hydration.