Sports drinks and energy drinks for children and adolescents: are they appropriate?

Pediatrics. 2011 Jun;127(6):1182-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0965. Epub 2011 May 29.


Sports and energy drinks are being marketed to children and adolescents for a wide variety of inappropriate uses. Sports drinks and energy drinks are significantly different products, and the terms should not be used interchangeably. The primary objectives of this clinical report are to define the ingredients of sports and energy drinks, categorize the similarities and differences between the products, and discuss misuses and abuses. Secondary objectives are to encourage screening during annual physical examinations for sports and energy drink use, to understand the reasons why youth consumption is widespread, and to improve education aimed at decreasing or eliminating the inappropriate use of these beverages by children and adolescents. Rigorous review and analysis of the literature reveal that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents. Furthermore, frequent or excessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents. Discussion regarding the appropriate use of sports drinks in the youth athlete who participates regularly in endurance or high-intensity sports and vigorous physical activity is beyond the scope of this report.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Sports*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants