WHO: Aggressive Marketing Of Energy Drinks To Youth Needs Regulation

WHO says that energy drink marketing needs more regulation because too many youths are drinking it.

Last week, Inquisitr reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) is quickly considering energy drink consumption a public health threat, and the WHO also believes that aggressive marketing campaigns towards children, teens, and young adults needs more regulation. The research team that published the review of energy drinks in the journal Frontiers in Public Health indicated that sales of energy drinks have skyrocketed in recent years. The WHO believes that aggressive marketing to youths is one reason for the steep increase.

An estimated 68 percent of teens and 18 percent of children under the age of ten ingest energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster, according to Medical News Today. A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stated that in 2011, there were 20,783 emergency room visits that involved energy drinks. This figure is over twice what was reported in 2007. Earlier this year, another study from the University of Minnesota and Duke University highlighted some behavioral concerns correlated to energy drink and sports drink consumption among the nation’s youth.

“Among boys, weekly sports drink consumption was significantly associated with higher TV viewing; boys who regularly consumed sports drinks spent about 1 additional hour per week watching TV, compared with boys who consumed sports drinks less than once per week. Boys who consumed energy drinks at least weekly spent approximately 4 additional hours per week playing video games, compared with those who consumed energy drinks less than once per week.”

The researchers with the WHO say that few rigorous studies have been done investigating the safety of energy drink consumption for young people. The researchers indicated that energy drink marketing aimed at youths involves risks such as heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting, convulsions, unhealthy behaviors, psychosis, and even death.

“Consumption of energy drinks among adolescents is associated with other potentially negative health and behavioral outcomes such as sensation seeking, use of tobacco and other harmful substances, and binge drinking is associated with a greater risk for depression and injuries that require medical treatment.”

The authors of the recent study stated that policy makers should consider implementing regulations and strategies to limit energy drink consumption. They also stated that because energy drinks can be so harmful to youths, regulations should be put into place to stop children and teens from being able to buy energy drinks. Healthcare workers, the researchers say, should discuss the risks of energy drink consumption with their patients.

“Regulatory agencies should enforce industry-wide standards for responsible marketing of energy drinks and ensure that the risks associated with energy drink consumption are well known,” the researchers added. “As energy drink sales are rarely regulated by age, like alcohol and tobacco, and there is a proven negative effect of caffeine on children, there is the potential for a significant public health problem in future.”

Do you think that regulations should be established that will limit the marketing or sale of energy drinks to today’s youth?

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