There is a talk radio station called LBC that I sometimes listen too and recently one of the topics they covered was about a school that had banned energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Relentless and subsequently seen a massive improvement in pupil behaviour.
This is something that I’ve mentioned on this blog before and also ties into other articles I’ve written elsewhere.
I’m firmly of the opinion that these kind of drinks should absolutely be banned in all schools. I’m tempted to go into how I can’t even understand why there is this culture of kids drinking energy drinks; certainly when I was in secondary school I and all of my friends had energy to burn. Children and teenagers drinking caffeine and energy drinks has always seemed absurd to me but I suppose there is an argument to be made – and I often do make it – that these sorts of things are marketed in such a way that they seem appealing regardless of whether you really want or need them and then, when you factor in the sugar and caffeine content, it’s obvious why you have repeat customers. By the same token, those sugar and caffeine quantities also explain the increase of difficult to control behaviour in children that *gasp* drops off once these drinks are taken away.
Lets be honest, teenagers don’t need the kind of cocktails contained in these things to be hyperactive and difficult to control.
I always feel a little weird when I advocate for things like tougher laws and state intervention but when it comes to things like this I do believe it should be illegal to purchase these kinds of things when you are school age. I fail to see what kind of positive impact it can have on a developing child to be bombarded with sugar and caffeine.
The counter argument of parents playing more of a role in children’s diets across the board is of course true but the simple fact is that parents can’t be there 24/7 and this plus marketing plus impressionable youngsters means collective responsibility and action must be taken in certain situations. In this case a simple bit of legislation stating it is illegal to sell certain energy drinks to under 16’s is I think sensible. I’ll just end with this little bit copied from the linked article.
The Food Standards Agency advises that children limit their intake of drinks that are high in caffeine – saying the drinks ‘could potentially lead to short-term effects such as increased excitability, irritability, nervousness or anxiety’.
A study by the Energy Drink Consumption in Europe found that large amounts of caffeine can cause heart palpitations, fits and even death, as well as raising the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Heavy consumption has also been linked to a greater risk of depression, addiction and alcohol dependency.