While energy drinks can temporarily increase alertness and energy levels, they also have some risks and drawbacks
Energy drinks have become a topic of renewed concern among educators and doctors in the UAE due to their potential negative effects on students and young people who regularly consume energy drinks.
While energy drinks can temporarily boost alertness and energy levels, they also have some risks and drawbacks.
A 2020 study from Harvard University states, “While some controlled trials do show that energy drinks can temporarily increase alertness and reverse fatigue, as well as enhance physical performance in young athletes, the majority of studies have linked negative emotional health effects. These include increased stress, aggressive behavior, increased blood pressure, increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, poor sleep quality and upset stomach.”
Recently, a school in Dubai warned parents of the potential risks of children consuming Prime Energy beverages, which the agency banned.
In a circular to parents, GEMS World Academy highlighted various health concerns, including anxiety and the potential for addiction, as a consequence of consuming these beverages.
Dean Winders, Assistant Head of Personal Development, Wellbeing and Behavior at GEMS World Academy, said: “By promoting healthy eating, we aim to give students the tools they need to live a balanced lifestyle that will have an impact on their academic performance. POSITIVE IMPACT, PHYSICAL HEALTH & EMOTIONAL HEALTH.We believe healthy habits developed from an early age pave the way for a lifetime of wellness.
“This is why we strongly believe that energy drinks high in caffeine and sugar should be banned in schools. These drinks are often marketed to young people claiming to increase energy, improve performance and enhance mental focus. have serious negative impacts on the health and well-being of
Educators stress that children are often more susceptible to caffeine, which can cause “extra stress” for them but often has long-term negative effects.
Institutions claim that by promoting healthy eating, they aim to provide students with the tools they need to lead a balanced lifestyle that will positively impact their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being.
Healthy habits developed at an early age, they argue, will pave the way for a lifetime of health.
Sean Lewis, Head of Pastoral Care, Student Development, Welfare and Security (DSL) at Al Twar Star International School, said: “We have a healthy eating policy in place throughout the school. This healthier lifestyle means Avoid energy drinks. If anyone drinks these, they should be closely monitored due to the high sugar content and are highly addictive. Excessive consumption of these types of drinks can also affect children’s health, as well as their physical and dental health. We hold regular meetings at schools Meetings and rallies to remind the entire community, students and parents of the importance of eating a balanced and healthy diet.”
In many UAE schools, when students are seen eating healthy, they are regularly awarded a healthy eating certificate as a reward. These acknowledgments were made during a rally to encourage more students to eat healthy.
Benjamin Atkins, Head of Secondary at Aquila School, said: “We did a science experiment with our students to check the sugar content of different drinks. The students were often surprised to find they consumed just one bottle. I don’t think energy drinks are suitable for children and should be banned in all schools, just like ours. It’s important to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our students and energy drinks don’t fit that goal.”
Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal of Dubai Creek Indian High School, said: “Allowing ‘energy drinks’ in schools encourages students to drink more unhealthy drinks. When we allow energy drinks in schools, we encourage children to drink more harmful drinks and we increase We increase their risk of health problems. We also increase their risk of underperforming academically. I think we should ban energy drinks in schools. Parents should also carefully monitor ward use of these drinks.
Headteachers pointed out that children are at a very impressionable age where they cannot make informed choices on their own, so it is important for students to only drink healthy beverages.
Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO and principal of Credence High School, said: “We have a responsibility to ensure that all beverages and foods with harmful side effects are completely banned. Energy drinks with artificial sweeteners and caffeine should never be sold in schools Cause life-threatening side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, etc.”
Meanwhile, regular consumption of energy drinks may also displace healthier beverage options such as water, milk or natural fruit juices, doctors in the country say.
This can lead to an overall poor quality diet that lacks essential nutrients and can lead to malnutrition.
what did the doctor say?
Dr Kholoud Saad Mohamed, GP at Aster Clinic in Al Warqa, said: “Some parents may not know that energy drinks are actually harmful to children under 18. Children are at higher risk of heart disease from excess caffeine in these drinks because They are much smaller than adults. High caffeine intake in children can also lead to anxiety, disrupted sleep, and poor concentration during the day. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not consume any caffeine.”
An average 12-ounce serving of energy drinks has 9 teaspoons of added sugar, the doctor explained. Excess sugar in children’s diets can lead to unwanted weight gain, tooth decay and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dr Hany Alhendawy, a pediatrician at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi, said: “While some energy drinks may claim to be safe, it is important to note that the caffeine content in these drinks is often not regulated. effects, especially in children with pre-existing health conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, heart abnormalities, or mood and behavioral disturbances. Therefore, energy drinks are generally not recommended for children under the age of 18.”