Report recommends most children avoid sports drinks

In a new report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), representing most of the nation’s pediatricians, is advising children and teens NOT to down sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade unless they’re actually playing sports and to forgo energy drinks like Java Monster, Red Bull and Full Throttle altogether.

So, if you, like many parents, wonder what kinds of beverages you should allow your kids to drink, the report made it perfectly clear: Given the current epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity, we recommend the elimination of calorie-containing beverages from a well-balanced diet, with the exception of … fat-free milk, because it contains calcium and vitamin D, which are particularly important for young people.

Bloomberg News reports, “Sports drinks aren’t necessary for children and teenagers and are likely to contribute to obesity, according to US researchers urging parents to limit consumption of the beverages.”

The Washington Post “The Checkup” blog reported, “most kids should entirely avoid caloric beverages (except low- or nonfat milk) such as sports beverages and caloric soft drinks, the report explains.”

The Time “Healthland” blog reported that “The Academy decided to investigate sports and energy drinks after it became obvious that kids were drinking more of them as sodas were increasingly removed from many school vending machines.”

‘The question was, are there appropriate times when kids should be drinking these, and times when they shouldn’t be drinking them?’ says Dr. Marcie Schneider, a member of the nutrition committee and an adolescent medicine physician in Greenwich, Conn.

The CNN “The Chart” blog reported, “A 2007 report by the Institute of Medicine recommended schools limit sugars in food and drinks, restrict sports drinks to use by athletes only during prolonged, vigorous sports activities, prohibit energy drink use, restrict carbonated, fortified or flavored waters and have water available at no cost in schools.”

So, there ya have it. Water; artificially-flavored non-calorie water, or no-fat milk should be the drinks of choice the majority of the time for our kids.

The report was published in the in the journal Pediatrics by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and its Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.