Energy drinks boost ADHD symptoms in children

Energy drinks can significantly increase the risk of hyperactivity and attention deficit problems for middle-schools kids, concludes a study published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health randomly surveyed 1,649 middle-school students from a Connecticut urban school district--the average age of the participants was 12.4 years old. The scientists wanted to determine how frequently the children consumed energy drinks or sugary sodas and how it affected them.

The findings showed that as the number of energy drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages consumed increase, so did the risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms in the students. In fact, the researchers found that kids who consumed these drinks regularly had a 66 percent higher risk of developing hyperactive behavior.

On average, the participants consumed two sugared drinks per day. The results also showed boys were more likely to have these kinds of drinks than girls, and black and Hispanic boys were more likely to consume these beverages than white boys. Some of the more popular drinks contained as much as 40g of sugar. The maximum recommendation for sugar consumption is 21 to 33g a day, depending on age.

Previous research has shown a strong correlation between children with ADHD and poor academic performance, difficulty with peer relationships and increased susceptability to injuries. This study reinforces the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that children should not consume energy drinks and that consumption of sweetened drinks should be limited.

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