Popular energy drinks -- which may contain high levels of unregulated ingredients -- could pose a health risk to children, adolescents, and young adults, who consume many of the drinks sold, a review suggests.
The review found that almost half of 5,448 caffeine overdoses reported in 2007 involved people under age 19, according to Sara M. Seifert, BS, of the University of Miami, and colleagues.
Many energy drinks contain 70 to 80 mg of caffeine per 8-oz. serving -- about three times the concentration in cola drinks, Seifert and co-authors noted in a special report published in the March issue of Pediatrics, according to MedPage Today.
Nearly one-third of kids 12 to 14 years old regularly consume these beverages, which contain caffeine, sugar and other additives, said study author Judith Schaechter, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami. Of the 5,448 U.S. caffeine overdoses reported in 2007, 46 percent occurred in those younger than 19, Schaechter and her co-authors said.
"Pediatricians need to be aware of the possible effects of energy drinks," said Steven Lipshultz, a professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicines and a study author, in a Feb. 11 e-mail. "Toxicity surveillance should be improved and regulations of energy-drink sales and consumption should be based on appropriate research assessing energy drink safety," Bloomberg reports.
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