The one good thing about teens and sports drinks

May 6, 2014, TIME

By Alice Park

Researchers confirm a strong connection between sports and energy drinks and smoking, video game playing, and sugary soda consumption. But the beverages were also linked to more physical activity among teens.

Considering what we know about kids and sports drinks — briefly, that according to leading health groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children should not be drinking them — the small silver lining, according to a recent study, is that kids who drink them tend to exercise more than those who don’t. But they were also more likely to do things that harm their health, too.

Nicole Larson and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health asked nearly 3,000 students in grades six through 12 an exhaustive series of 235 questions and concluded that nearly 40 percent drank a sports drink at least once a week. Both boys and girls consuming sports drinks regularly were more likely to smoke and to play video games, the researchers found. They were also more likely to drink sugary soda and juice. The fact that sports and energy drink consumption are correlated with other risky behaviors, such as smoking, isn’t a surprise (though, to be clear, the researchers do not suggest a cause-effect relationship between the two). Continue reading

If you offer it, they will drink it

May 16, 2013, dailyRx

It’s no secret that drinking too much Coke or Gatorade can add inches to kids’ waistlines. But where they get those drinks might make a difference in how much they drink them.

A recent study found that children were much more likely to drink more sugar-sweetened beverages if they got them at school or at home.

Kids were three times more likely to drink five or more sugary drinks each week if they had access to the drinks at school.

The researchers concluded that limiting access to sugary drinks might be one component in preventing obesity.

The study, led by Lana Hebden, a research officer at the School for Public Health at the University of Sydney in Australia, looked at how many sugar-sweetened beverages school students drank. Continue reading