British Dental Journal 220, 639 – 643 Published online: 24 June 2016
Background Sports drinks intended to improve performance and hydrate athletes taking part in endurance sport are being marketed to children, for whom these products are not intended. Popularity among children has grown exponentially. Worryingly they consume them socially, as well as during physical activity. Sports drinks are high in sugar and are acidic. Product marketing ignores the potential harmful effects of dental caries and erosion.
Objective To investigate the use of sports drinks by children.
Method One hundred and eighty-three self-complete questionnaires were distributed to four schools in South Wales. Children in high school years 8 and 9 (aged 12–14) were recruited to take part. Questions focused on use of sports drinks, type consumed, frequency of and reason for consumption and where drinks were purchased.
Results One hundred and sixty children responded (87% response rate): 89.4% (143) claimed to drink sports drinks, half drinking them at least twice a week. Lucozade Sport™ was the most popular brand. The main reason for consuming the drinks was attributed to the ‘nice taste’ (90%, 129/143). Most respondents purchased the drinks from local shops (80.4%, 115) or supermarkets (54.5%, 78). More boys claimed to drink sports drinks during physical activity (77.9% versus 48.6% girls, P <0.001). Whereas more girls claimed to drink them socially (51.4% versus 48.5% boys, NS).
Conclusion A high proportion of children consumed sports drinks regularly and outside of sporting activity. Dental health professionals should be aware of the popularity of sports drinks with children when giving health education advice or designing health promotion initiatives.
Full reference: Broughton, D et. al. A survey of sports drinks consumption among adolescents BDJ Published online 24th June 2016
Related: NHS Choices: Sports drinks may have adverse effects on teens’ dental health