High Energy Drink Consumption by Teens Worrisome

Nearly half of all caffeine overdoses in U.S. occur among youth under age 19

MONDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit and contain ingredients which are not well studied and are not regulated, according to a review published online Feb. 14 in Pediatrics.

Sara M. Seifert, from the University of Miami, and colleagues identified and reviewed medical and news articles from PubMed and Google pertaining to energy drinks. Product information, found on the manufacturers' Web sites, was also reviewed.

The investigators found that, according to self-reporting, 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults consume energy drinks. These drinks often contain high amounts of caffeine which is unregulated. High energy drink consumption may be associated with serious undesirable consequences, especially in children, teens, and young adults suffering from seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities, mood and behavioral disorders, or those taking specific medications. In 2007, 46 percent of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses in the United States occurred in those younger than 19. The restriction of sales and advertising for these drinks is already being discussed in some countries and states.

"For most children, adolescents, and young adults, safe levels of consumption have not been established. Yet, heavy use may be harmful or interact with medications and cause untoward adverse effects. Health care providers should educate families and children at risk for the potential adverse effects of energy drinks," the authors write.

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