A children’s health expert wants energy drinks to be classed the same as alcohol and banned for sale to anyone under the age of 18.
Telethon Kids Institute executive director Jonathan Carapetis has backed up calls made by the Australian Medical Association to prevent kids from buying energy drinks.
A study carried out by Mr Carapetis’s organisation found a quarter of children who drank an energy drink had experienced heart palpitations.
Mr Carapetis told the West Australian:
‘We are currently advocating for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children due to the significant negative impact these drinks have on children’s health,’
Telethon Kids researcher Gina Trapp added:
‘We have local evidence to suggest the high volume of use and risk of adverse events is a public health concern… our findings, combined with international evidence, indicate that legislative and policy changes addressing young people’s access to energy drinks are warranted,’
A quarter of the children surveyed also had trouble sleeping, headaches and upset stomachs.
However Australian Beverages Council chief executive Geoff Parker said a ban was not needed, pointing out that energy drinks have the same amount of caffeine as a similar-sized cup of coffee.
‘Australian energy drink manufacturers have committed to a voluntary code that doesn’t supply or sell into schools, market or advertise to children… parents should be arming themselves with as much information as they can,’ he said.