Research

Energy drinks ban welcomed by campaigners

27 June 2018 @TeesUniNews

 

A crackdown on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s has been welcomed by a Teesside University academic who has long warned about the dangerous impact such drinks have on children.

Dr Amelia Lake
Dr Amelia Lake

The sale of energy drinks to people aged under 16 is set to be banned as part of a new Government drive to tackle childhood obesity.

A raft of new proposals outlined by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have been announced in a bid to halve the number of obese children by 2030. As well as preventing the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, they also include mandatory calorie labeling on menus and a 9.00pm watershed on junk food adverts.

Dr Amelia Lake is a Reader in Public Health Nutrition in the School of Science, Engineering & Design at Teesside University and is also Associate Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health.

Earlier this year, Dr Lake published a study into the sale and consumption of energy drinks, led by Dr Shelina Visram, from Newcastle University and with fellow academics from Fuse, a research collaboration between the five North East universities. They called on the Government to consider restricting the sale of the drinks to under 16s after the research revealed that they were being sold to children ‘cheaper than water and pop’.

Just this month Dr Lake also appeared before the Science and Technology House of Commons Select Committee in London to talk about the impact energy drinks have on young people.

Welcoming the proposals to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, Dr Lake said: 'Our research has clearly shown that these energy drinks are harmful to children. Their consumption is associated with a range of negative effects and unhealthy behaviours, including physical health complaints, such as headaches, palpitations and insomnia, and higher rates of alcohol, smoking and drug use.

'Restricting the sale of energy drinks to under 16s is the correct decision and one that will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of young people in this country.'

On average, young people in the UK consume more energy drinks than those in other European countries. A single can of popular brands on the market can contain around 160mg of caffeine, while the European Food Safety Authority recommends an intake of no more than 105mg caffeine per day for an average 11-year-old.

Restricting the sale of energy drinks to under 16s is the correct decision and one that will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of young people in this country.

Dr Amelia Lake

Research carried out by Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, revealed that young people, including children as young as 10, regularly consume energy drinks and they can often be sold for as little as 25p in promotional offers.

Some large retailers have already introduced a restriction on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, but the new proposals would see a blanket ban across the country.

Anna Turley, MP for Redcar, has also previously called for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.

She said: 'When I raised this in Parliament earlier in the year, the minister said the government were monitoring the situation closely. I am pleased they have now accepted the evidence on the damage sugar and caffeine in energy drinks can do to young people.

'Parents, teachers, campaigners, retailers, and the important research conducted by Fuse, have all played a crucial role in bringing about this ban. We now look forward to seeing it being brought in to force and the health of our children improved.'

Dr Lake added: 'This is certainly a step in the right direction and I am pleased with the action that is being taken. Preventing the sale of energy drinks to children will be helpful, but I would also like to see the Government tackle the broader marketing of these drinks which can often target young people through computer games and their association with sports.'

The work on energy drinks research was supported by The Children's Foundation Child Health Research Programme and led by Dr Shelina Visram in collaboration with academics from Teesside, Durham, Northumbria Universities through the Fuse collaboration.


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In the News

Energy drinks ban welcomed by campaigners
North East Chamber of Commerce, online, 29/06/2018
A crackdown on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s has been welcomed by a Teesside University academic who has long warned about the dangerous impact such drinks have on children.