A new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at University of Connecticut is recommending that energy drinks be governed by the same rules as tobacco products.
The study points to negative health effects on children ages 12 to 17 associated with the highly caffeinated drinks. The study, which will appear in the April issue of “Nutrition Reviews,” says energy drinks can cause emotional, social and behavioral issues in kids and lead to approximately 1,500 hospital visits each year.
The plan suggests energy drinks be moved away from other beverages in stores and placed behind the counter, with cigarettes. The authors also say they should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.
Energy drinks have become a $27.5 billion global industry. The American Beverage Association strongly opposes the changes recommended in the study, stating that energy drink makers voluntarily go beyond federal requirements in labeling their products and education. Makers have also voluntarily pledged not to market the drinks to teens or sell them in schools.
Researchers, however, cite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children and teens should not consume energy drinks and argue that there should be a ban on the products for those under age 18.
The full study and recommendations from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity can be read online here.