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Dutch paediatricians: Stop selling energy drinks to children

Dutch paediatricians: Stop selling energy drinks to children

Doctors in the Netherlands are concerned that energy drinks are damaging the health of children, and are therefore calling for a ban on the sale of the drinks to children under the age of 18.

Not an innocent soda drink

According to the NVK (Dutch Association for Children’s Health), doctors have observed that more and more teenagers end up in the hospital with complaints such as restlessness, fatigue and cardiac arrhythmia. They blame the high amounts of caffeine, sugar and taurine in energy drinks.

“This is not an innocent soda drink”, says paediatrician Brita de Jong-Van Kempen. “We are seeing more and more children with symptoms that are ultimately caused by energy drinks. It is also increasingly noticed at schools. With the result that in many schools the energy drinks have already been removed from the vending machines, because the children can’t concentrate”.

Not the first time

In 2014, paediatricians already called for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 13. Whilst this ban was never carried out, nutrition centre Voedingscentrum recommends that children under the age of 13 don’t consume energy drinks, and that children between the ages 13-18 do not drink more than one can per day.

However, despite the recommendations of the centre, some teenagers still drink more than six cans per day. This is why the NVK is asking for the ban. De Jong-Van Kempen: “A ban would make parents think and raise their awareness of the consequences… We can wait until we have a fatal incident, or we can take measures so that we can investigate the consequences”.

Not the answer

The Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) doesn’t believe a ban is the solution. Instead, the ministry feels that parents should warn their children about the dangers of drinking energy drinks, and sports clubs and schools should educate them about (un)healthy food and drinks.

“There are more products that are bad for your health and you shouldn’t (or with moderation) consume. Banning these products is not the solution”, says a spokesman for the ministry.

Manja

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Manja van Kesteren

Manja studied English and Creative & Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. She has worked as a professional writer for a number of international companies in the Netherlands. A...

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