UK health campaigners renew calls for ban on energy drink sales to children

A new study published in the Public Health journal this month reviewed 57 studies: with the authors saying their work โ€˜adds to the growing evidence that energy drink consumption by children and young people is associated with numerous adverse physical and mental health outcomes.โ€™

While the UK government announced its intention to ban energy drink sales in 2019, there has been no further action.

Energy drinks typically contain around 160-200mg of caffeine per can, while a typical cup of coffee contains around 80mg. Drinks are often also high in sugar.

In response to the review, the Childrenโ€™s Food Campaign, Food Active and 39 other health organisations, researchers and public health leaders have written urgent appeals to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins, and also to the Labour shadow health team, asking them โ€˜how much more evidence is needed before the Government keeps a promise to restrict sales of high caffeine energy drinks to under-16sโ€™.

Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign Manager at Sustain, said: โ€œItโ€™s not right that companies are profiting from energy drinks when evidence shows theyโ€™re harming children and young peopleโ€™s health. These concerning findings should prompt our government to act. But theyโ€™ve been disappointingly silent on the issue for the past five years. Over that time, energy drinks companies have increasingly targeted young people with even higher caffeine content drinks, putting more of them at risk.

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