According to the January 10, 2013 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) the number of emergency room visits involving Energy Drinks more than doubled from 10,068 visits in the year 2007 to 20,783 in 2011.
This report also identified that there are more male patients than female patients, and that visits doubled for both male and females. Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of caffeine. The amount of caffeine varies from energy drink to energy drink. Ranging from about 80 milligrams (mg) to more than 500 (mg), compared to 100 mg in a 5 ounce cup of coffee or 50 mg in a 12 ounce cola.
The report states, “Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake.” It also indicated that there is a “growing body of scientific evidence” showing harmful health effects of energy drinks. In particular with children, however, new findings suggest that older adults may be at risk as well. “The safety of these products among adults who take medications or have medical conditions has been questioned.”
Energy drinks are not the only beverages on the rise in America. Americans are also drinking more soft drinks than ever. Per capita soft drink consumption has increased almost 500 percent over the past 50 years. There is enough regular soda produced annually to supply every American with more than 14 ounces of soda every day for a year. One reason for the steady rise in soft drink consumption is larger portion sizes; fountain drinks can range in size from 22 to 64 ounces. Children start drinking soda at a remarkably young age, and consumption increases through young adulthood.
Choosing healthy beverages is a great first step to an overall healthy diet. Try these tips to help you and your family have a healthier diet.
- Help children learn to enjoy water as the thirst quencher of choice.
- Make soft drinks a “sometimes” beverage to be enjoyed in moderate amounts. Remember that soft drinks include fruitades, fruit drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, sweet tea, and sports drinks.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for easy access.
- Add lemon, lime, other fruit, or a splash of juice to water.
Reviewed by: Heidi Phillips, B.S, Program Assistant, FCS, Wood County Extension.
For a complete copy of the report:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for
Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 10, 2013). The DAWN
Report: Update on Emergency Department Visits Invo