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Health & Wellness

AMA Supports Ban on Energy Drink Marketing Ads Targeting Kids

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Manufacturers of energy drinks will have to rethink their marketing tactics now that the American Medical Association threw strong support behind a policy that could significantly affect their business.

energy drinksOn Tuesday, AMA endorsed a resolution that seeks to limit energy drink ads geared at consumers who are under 18. The group said energy drinks contain excessive amounts of caffeine that could cause health problems in young people.

AMA is calling for a temporary ban on marketing of energy drinks to youth “until such time as the scientific evidence regarding the possible adverse medical affects that stimulant drinks may have on children and adolescents is determined.” The resolution, however, does not cover sports drinks such as Gatorade,  according to a Bloomberg report.

“Banning companies from marketing these products to adolescents is a common sense action that we can take to protect the health of American kids,” said AMA board member Dr. Alexander Ding.

The American Beverage Association has expressed disappointment over AMA’s move, saying leading energy drink companies are voluntarily displaying caffeine info on product labels.

Early this year, a government report showed an increase in the number of ER visits from 2007 to 2011 due to energy drink consumption. The report came a few months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is investigating a string of deaths linked to a popular energy drink manufactured by Monster Beverage Corp.

Health & Wellness

ER Visits Involving Energy Drinks Doubled From 2007 to 2011

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A report released late last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that the number of emergency room visits tied to energy drinks consumption have more than doubled from 2007 to 2011. That past four years were the same period when energy drinks surged in popularity in convenience stores, bars, and on college campuses, according to ABC News.

The findings were based from the responses of about 230 hospitals, representing 5 percent of emergency departments nationwide, each year. From 2007 to 2011, emergency room visits involving energy drinks rose from about 10,000 to over 20,000 — most of the patients were teens and young adults.

“We were really concerned to find that in four years the number of emergency department visits almost doubled, and these drinks are largely marketed to younger people,” said Al Woodward, a senior statistical analyst with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration who worked on the report.

Some emergency department doctors said they have observed an increase in the number of patients suffering from irregular heartbeats, anxiety and heart attacks who said they had recently consumed an energy drink. Even more troubling is that about 42 percent of ER visits considered in the survey for 2011 involved energy drinks in combination with alcohol or drugs, such as the stimulants Adderall or Ritalin.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was considering the findings and pressing for more details as it begins its own comprehensive review on the safety of energy drinks and related ingredients this spring.

Health & Wellness

New Consumer Report Says Caffeine Info on Energy Drinks Not Always Accurate

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Consumer Reports magazine reveal on Thursday that energy drinks manufacturers do not spell out on labels the amount of caffeine in their beverages and when they do, the details are not always accurate.

According to the study conducted by the magazine, 11 of the 27 top-selling energy drinks in the country do not say how much caffeine their products contain. Of the 16 drinks that specified caffeine amount, 5 had more caffeine per serving than was listed and the average amount over was more than 20 percent, the Foxnews.com reports.

“There is no legal or commercial business requirement to do so,” a Monster Beverage official told Consumer Reports about why beverage companies do not divulge exact caffeine levels on their energy drinks. “And because our products are completely safe, and the actual numbers are not meaningful to most consumers.”

The study came at a time when the FDA acknowledged its ongoing investigation on the five deaths that were allegedly associated with Monster Beverage Corp’s Monster Energy drink.

On December 2011, a 14-year-old girl from Maryland succumb to heart attack after drinking just two cans of Monster energy drink. The victim’s parents filed a lawsuit against the energy drink’s manufacturer, but the company maintained they don’t believe their products have in any way caused death.

The drinks that Consumer Reports found to contain more caffeine than was listed on their labels included Arizona Energy, Clif Shot Turbo Energy Gel and Sambazon Organic Amazon Energy, as well as Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc’s Venom Energy and Nestle Jamba.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

FDA Investigates 5 Energy Drinks Related Deaths

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) probes on the five deaths linked to a popular energy drink manufactured by a California-based beverage company.

The investigation comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died on December 2011 of a heart attack after drinking just two cans of Monster energy drink.

According to an autopsy report, Anais Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity following consumption of two 24-ounce Monster cans which contain 240 milligrams of caffeine.

The girl’s parents claim Monster Beverage Corporation failed to warn consumers about the risk of drinking its products.

In the recently released reports by the FDA,  five people (including Fournier) have died over the past three years after drinking Monster Energy. But Monster Beverage Corp. says it does not believe its energy drink products have caused the deaths of Fournier and the others.

On Monday, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said that while the agency is investigating the incidents, the reports don’t necessarily prove that the drinks caused deaths or injuries, the CBSNews.com reports.

“As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently,” Shelly Burgess, a FDA spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Health & Wellness

Energy Drinks Are NOT For Kids and Teens, Say Pediatricians

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The needs of people vary as they age, more so when it comes to health and nutrition. Because of consumerism, however, the lines that separate what people of various age groups should ideally consume are diminished; there are kids who end up eating and drinking foods and beverages that are not yet recommended for them.

kids and sports drinksThe Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a report that advices teens to refrain from consuming sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, unless they are actually engaged in sports activities, as shared in a feature on Time.com. In addition, the nation’s pediatricians suggested that teens do not consume energy drinks, such as Java Monster, Red Bull, and Full Throttle, at all. The report was published in the journal Pediatrics.

The observation that kids seem to drink sports and energy drinks more often, because sodas were being removed from school vending machines across the country, prompted the investigation. More kids are said to be drinking sports drinks in school lunch rooms.

Dr. Marci Schneider, a member of the nutrition committee and an adolescent medicine physician in Greenwich, Connecticut, shared: “The question was, are there appropriate times when kids should be drinking these, and times when they shouldn’t be drinking them?” While sports drinks are beneficial to athletes following intense practice or workout sessions, Dr. Schneider said that “outside that setting — and honestly most of our teens and children are way outside that setting — they don’t need sports drinks… Water, not sports drinks, should be the major source of hydration for adolescents.”