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Sports Drinks Contributes To Adolescent Obesity

(Photo by: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

A recent study details the link between sport drink consumption and obesity in adolescents.   Although these beverages can help to restore electrolyte and carbohydrate levels that kids burn off in exercise, water should still be the beverage of choice to quench their thirst.

“For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best,” said Holly Benjamin, a co-author of the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. “Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need.”

For years, companies have marketed these sports drinks towards athletes as a necessary part of their post-workout routine.  And, while many parents might think that these beverages are benefiting kids, they actually can have the opposite effect.

[The] study also focused on the effects of energy drinks that contain caffeine and other stimulants. These beverages can damage adolescents’ neurologic and cardiovascular systems and shouldn’t be consumed, said Benjamin, a University of Chicago associate professor of pediatrics.

“Some kids are drinking energy drinks – containing large amounts of caffeine – when their goal is simply to rehydrate after exercise,” said study co-author Marcie Beth Schneider, a pediatrician in Greenwich, Conn. “This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous.”

Energy drinks “are not intended for young consumers,” said Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association.

Parents urged to curtail sports drinks for kids.

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