‘Not recommended for children’ is printed on every can of energy drink. So why do we allow under 16s to purchase them?
As part of Jamie Oliver’s ongoing campaign to combat diet related disease, he is calling on the government to put age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s. He joins parents, academics, the National Education Union (the largest education union), teachers from Educating Yorkshire and Educating Essex, and many more to call for government action.
The label on every energy drink can specifically says ‘not recommended for children’, yet 69% of adolescents and 24% of children under 10 are drinking them in the UK.
In an episode of Friday Night Feast, which aired last night (Friday January 5) Jamie and Jimmy Doherty explore how energy drinks impact kids. They speak to a number of teachers, who describe the strain of teaching pupils who are under the influence of energy drinks. Teachers explain how they even devise back-up lesson plans, depending on whether the kids are on a ‘high’ or ‘crashing’.
Many schools have banned these drinks, but bans in schools aren’t enough. A study commissioned by the Scottish government found that 41% of 13 to 15 year olds buy a sugary drink, including fizzy drinks and energy drinks, off-site at lunchtime, despite bans inside the school gates.
Jamie Oliver says: “If the energy drink industry is literally telling us their products are ‘not recommended for children’ on the cans, why can kids as young as 10 buy them whenever they want? This consumption is compromising our kids, and our teachers, too – we have to do something about it. We urgently need the government to step up and put age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to all under 16s.”
The evidence which shows the detrimental impact of energy drinks on a child’s health is growing every day:
- Energy drinks contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar - more than twice the maximum daily intake for adults!
- 12% of UK children under 11 are drinking a 1 litre bottle in a single session.
- Young people in the UK consume more energy drinks on average than their EU counterparts (3.1 litres per month, compared with 2 litres).
- Many brands of energy drinks contain 160mg of caffeine per 500ml - a 10-year-old should not consume more than 99mg per day.
- Energy drinks retail for as little as 25p.
- Sales of energy drinks rose 155% between 2006 and 2014.4
With the mounting evidence, Jamie Oliver is calling for teachers everywhere and the public to make their voices heard. Tweet Secretary of State for Health @Jeremy_Hunt and your local MP, post, share, shout and tell your friends:
'Protect our children by tweeting @Jeremy_Hunt and put age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to under 16s. #NotForChildren'