Sports, Energy Drink Consumption Linked to Unhealthy Behaviors in Teens According to New Study

 According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Duke University, weekly consumption of sports and energy drinks among teens causes them to consume other sugary drinks and smoke cigarettes.

The researchers wanted to better understand the health behavior patterns related to adolescent consumption of sports and energy drinks and come up with strategies to reduce the consumption of these beverages. It is well known in today’s society that too much caffeine and sugar can lead to serious health problems.

They gathered data for the study from 20 public middle schools and high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The surveys were completed by 2,793 adolescents during the 2009-2010 school year.  The average age of the participants were 14.5 years old, equally divided between boys and girls, and 81 percent were identified as a racial/ethnic background other than non-Hispanic white.

The study measured height and weight, consumption frequency for sports drinks, energy drinks and breakfast, time spent engaged in physical activity, playing video games and watching television and smoking status.  Even though more frequent sports drink consumption was also linked to higher physical activity levels, the researchers believe that consuming sports drinks should be addressed as an unhealthy behavior among some adolescents. 

Lead author Nicole Larson, PhD, MPH, RDN, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, stated that, “among boys, weekly sports drink consumption was significantly associated with higher TV viewing; boys who regularly consumed sports drinks spent about one additional hour per week watching TV compared with boys who consumed sports drinks less than once per week. And boys who consumed energy drinks at least weekly spent approximately four additional hours per week playing video games compared to those who consumed energy drinks less than once per week.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sports drinks should only be consumed by adolescents after vigorous, prolonged activity and they should avoid energy drinks because they offer no benefit and increase the risks for over stimulation of the nervous system. 

As parents we can change these behaviors by leading a good example, and eliminating sugary beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks from our teens’ diets. We can also limit the amount of time our kids spend in front of the television and playing computer games.  If you are concerned that your teen has unhealthy hydration habits you must take charge and change it. 

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Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger,  and mother of five children, living in Spokane, WA. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.

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