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Sports drinks a “risk to health” for teens

27 June 2016

Sports drinks a “risk to health” for teens

Cardiff University found 89% of Welsh 12 to 14-year-olds questioned drank them - 68% at least once a week.

Researchers found that the majority of parents did not know that these drinks were not meant for children and only for adults when participating in high impact sports.

The British Soft Drinks Association said the drinks were only designed for use after "vigorous physical activity"


The university's school of dentistry questioned 160 children from surrounding Welsh schools and determinded that they were addicted to the drinks as they tasted both sweet and were low in cost

Half of these children told the researchers that they only drank socially instead of the intended sports setting, which 18% of them said they did, as indented by the manufacturer.

Maria Morgan, senior lecturer in dental public health, said: "The purpose of sports drinks are being misunderstood and this study clearly shows evidence of high school age children being attracted to these high sugar and low pH level drinks, leading to an increased risk of dental cavities, enamel erosion and obesity."

Paul Jackson, the FSEM president, said: "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."

Russ Ladwa, from the British Dental Association, said: "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."

Gavin Partington, from the British Soft Drinks Association told researchers that these sports drinks were made to rehydrate post or pre workout and need to be “consumed in moderation”

He said the drinks could have contributed to high decay levels seen among professional footballers.

He said: "This year soft drinks companies agreed not to advertise any drinks high in sugar to under-16s across all media channels, including online. The new commitment also includes further restrictions to advertising around schools."

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