It’s not a great time to be an energy drink fan; only recently, a study revealed that having just one energy drink can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as researchers say the drink narrows blood vessels which can restrict the flow of blood to vital organs.
Now, though, childrens’ health campaigners and teachers are urging the government to set its proposed ban in England on the sale of energy drinks so it includes those up to 18 rather than 16.
The Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) – which is supported by Jamie Oliver – the British Dietetic Association and the Action on Sugar campaign group believe that banning under-18s drinking the sugary drinks would help tackle many behavioral issues linked to high-caffeine fizzy drinks like Red Bull and Monster Energy.
According to an online survey by the CFC, 97 percent of teachers supported introducing a ban to children and young people purchasing energy drinks.
Two-thirds said that their schools neither sold nor allowed the consumption of the drinks on site, but young people were still managing to smuggle them into school in schoolbags.
“These high-caffeine fizzy drinks are not energising pupils in the classroom; it’s actually the opposite,” said Barbara Crowther of the Children’s Food Campaign.
“Hard-working teachers have a tough enough job without having to manage youngsters’ health and behavioural effects. We are calling on the government to ban all sales to under-18s, which will send the clearest message that these drinks – as it already says on the label – are just not suitable for children.”
The main reason for the proposed ban is the high level of caffeine in the drinks, which has been linked to a string of health problems for children, including head and stomach aches, hyperactivity, depression and sleep problems, as well as poorer performance, concentration and behaviour in schools.
Jamie Oliver has also campaigned at length on the issue, telling the Mirror:
“We have a massive problem with kids and energy drinks.
“Too many children are regularly using them to replace breakfast. Teachers from across the country have told me how their lessons are disrupted in classrooms because of these drinks, packed with stimulants.
“The energy drinks industry has never thought these products were suitable for children.
“They even say ‘not for children’ on the labels! The sale to kids should be stopped as soon as possible.
“It’s really great news that the government is announcing their intention to stop selling these drinks to kids.
“I’m sure parents and health experts across the UK will happily tell the government this is the right thing to do.”
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