New study shows UK children are threatening their health with sports drinks consumption.
Around 89% of school children admit to drinking sports drinks and evidence shows that it could be having a big effect on their lives.
The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK has highlighted that regular consumption of these drinks by children could be having a detrimental effect on their health. With 89% claiming they drink them and a further 68% saying they do it regularly, at least once a week.
The survey was published in the British Dental Journal and conducted by Cardiff University School of Dentistry. It showed that a high amount of 12-14-year-olds are regularly consuming high sugar, sports drinks unnecessarily. They surveyed 160 children in four schools across South Wales and found that children are attracted to sports drinks because of their sweet taste, low price and availability.
It was also shown in the research that parents and children are not aware that sports drinks are not intended for consumption by children. The FSEM has recommended that water and milk is enough hydration for children and adults before during and after exercise, currently there is no evidence of beneficial effects of sports drinks in non-elite athletes or children. However, there is evidence that an increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in the UK increases cardiometabolic risks and contributes to tooth decay.
It was shown in the survey that the majority of the children buy the sports drinks for the taste factor or because the rest of their friends drink them. Only 18% of children bought the sports drinks for perceived sport enhancement. These drinks are easy to purchase and very affordable, obviously leading to children being able to purchase them at will. Dr Paul D Jackson, president of the FSEM UK has said:
“The proportion of children in this study who consume high carbohydrate drinks, which are designed for sport, in a recreational non-sporting context, is of concern.”
“Sports drinks are intended for athletes taking part in endurance and intense sporting events, they are also connected with tooth decay in athletes and should be used following the advice of dental and healthcare teams dedicated to looking after athletes. Water or milk is sufficient enough to hydrate active children, high sugar sports drinks are unnecessary for children and most adults.”
Hopefully in the future children and parents will be more aware of how these high sugar and low pH drinks are increasing tooth decay and obesity. Would you be okay with your child drinking sports drinks?