Your child’s sports drink could be really bad for their health

Support us and go ad-free

Cheap, sugary sports drinks are regularly consumed by 12-14 year olds, but not always in the context of sport, a new survey has shown. The children cited taste and low price as the top reasons they bought the drinks.

The researchers who carried out the survey are extremely worried about the marketing of sports drinks to young people. Of the 160 school children were that were surveyed, 89% drank sports drinks and 68% drank them regularly.

If consumed in large quantities, sports drinks can lead to serious problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and gout, as well as poor dental health. Sports drinks were originally developed to improve performance and hydrate elite adult athletes in endurance events. There is no evidence of benefits for non-elite athletes or children.

Yet the UK sports drinks market was worth £218 million in 2014, with the core consumers being 15-24 year olds. The researchers noted that people were largely unaware that sports drinks were unsuitable for children.

Russ Ladwa, from the British Dental Association’s said:

The rise of sports drinks as just another soft drink option among children is a real cause for concern, and both parents and government must take note. They are laden with acids and sugars, and could be behind the decay problems we’re now seeing among top footballers.

Sports drinks are rarely a healthy choice, and marketing them to the general population, and young people in particular, is grossly irresponsible. Elite athletes might have reason to use them, but for almost everyone else they represent a real risk to both their oral and their general health.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

While this is not a large study, it does highlight a concerning trend, as the rate of children consuming these drinks has risen since previous surveys.

Paul Jackson, from the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, said:

Water or milk is sufficient enough to hydrate active children. High-sugar sports drinks are unnecessary for children and most adults.

The sugar tax announced in March, which is widely welcomed by health campaigners, will come into effect in two years time. The hope is that it will encourage manufacturers to change their recipes. And where similar taxes have been introduced in other countries, sales of fizzy drinks have dropped. In any case, the researchers behind the survey stress that more needs to be done.

Feature image via Kamyar Adl/Flickr

Get Involved!

Visit the Action on Sugar site

Check out Sugar Smart for advice on how to cut sugar

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed