Middle school-aged children often have enough energy to bounce off the walls for hours. It seems during times like these, kids can outlast the Energizer bunny until they crash—or get their next sugar rush by picking up an energy drink.
But consuming energy drinks might not be the best thing for them. According to a new study, middle-schoolers who consume energy drinks are 66 percent more at risk for hyperactivity than children who don't.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health surveyed 1,649 5th, 7th and 8th graders selected at random from an urban school district in Connecticut. The researchers asked the children about what beverages they consume and assessed their levels of attention and hyperactivity.
Led by professor Jeannette Ickovics, director of Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, the researchers found that boys consumed energy drinks more than girls, black and Hispanic boys more than their white counterparts.
Published in the journal Academic Pediatrics, the researchers also found that the more sugar consumed, the higher the risk was for hyperactivity. The energy drinks and other sugary beverages popular among the children contain up to 40 grams of sugar, with students drinking two sugary drinks per day on average.
"As the total number of sugar-sweetened beverages increased, so too did risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms among our middle-school students. Importantly, it appears that energy drinks are driving this association," says Ickovics. "Our results support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents should limit consumption of sweetened beverages and that children should not consume any energy drinks."
It is recommended that children only consume 21 to 33 grams of sugar daily in respect to their age.
The study was also co-authored by researchers from CARE, the New Haven Public Schools and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Not only could high sugar consumption from beverages like energy drinks affect a child's attention span and level of hyperactivity, but high sugar consumption also is linked to childhood obesity,
And while sugary beverages like sodas are one of the leading causes of extra calories among children, it is energy drinks that are especially dangerous for children's health.
"Despite considering numerous types of beverages in our analyses (eg, soda, fruit drinks), only energy drinks were associated with greater risk of hyperactivity/inattention," the authors write.
Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, as well as ingredients like taurine and guarana that give people the caffeine boost to pick them up. The amount of caffeine is typically much higher in energy drinks than soda.
While the research does not prove that energy drinks cause hyperactivity, it's important for parents to know that children who do consume these beverages could be at risk.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Juřena/Flickr]