Are energy drinks bad for children?

University expert Chenin Treftz Nickel discusses the health risks caffeine and sugar pose to children.

Girl drinking from a park's water fountain

For kids who are active and play sports, water is the best drink to keep your kids hydrated.

Are energy drinks bad for children?

University expert Chenin Treftz Nickel discusses the health risks caffeine and sugar pose to children.

For kids who are active and play sports, water is the best drink to keep your kids hydrated.

Girl drinking from a park's water fountain

For kids who are active and play sports, water is the best drink to keep your kids hydrated.

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Energy drinks are heavily marketed to kids, but energy drinks and kids don’t mix. Some parents may not know that energy drinks can actually be harmful for kids’ health. Most health professionals agree that energy drinks should be avoided among children and limited for adults. Keep reading to learn more about why your kids should avoid energy drinks.

Caffeine: Energy drinks often contain high amounts of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant found in plants that is added to energy drinks in high amounts. If kids have too much caffeine, it can lead to serious, life threatening heart problems. Children are at a higher risk for heart issues from excess caffeine because their body size is much smaller than adults. High amounts of caffeine in kids can also cause sleep disruptions, which can lead to less attention and focus during the day. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children do not consume any caffeine. More information about these guidelines can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Sugar: Energy drinks are also a source of added sugar to kids diets. On average, an energy drink has 9 teaspoons of added sugar in one 12 ounce serving! Excess sugar in kids’ diets can lead to unwanted weight gain, cavities and higher risk for developing type two diabetes. For kids who are active and play sports, water is the best drink to keep your kids hydrated.

To help keep your kids healthy, limit sugary drinks and avoid drinks with caffeine. For more information about sugary drinks, visit Rethink Your Drink Nevada.


Chenin Treftz Nickel, Ph.D., R.D., is a nutrition research scientist with Rethink Your Drink, a program offered by College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources' Department of Nutrition in collaboration with Extension.

The program is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP. SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact 800-992-0900. 

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