Consumption of Sports Drinks by
Children and Adolescents
Healthy Eating Research A National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Children’s and adolescents’ consumption of sports drinks is increasing. Amidst a national obesity epidemic, many sports drinks sold in the United States contain high amounts of sugar, adding more calories to youths’ diets. In limited quantities, sports drinks are recommended only for individuals engaged in prolonged vigorous physical activity for more than one hour. For most children and adolescents, consuming water before, during, and after physical activity provides the necessary hydration.
This research review examines the evidence about children’s and adolescents’ consumption of sports drinks and the related health implications. Parents, teachers, coaches, and children and adolescents need to know that sports drinks are not recommended for the vast majority of youths engaged in normal physical activity. Government agencies also need to monitor the effects of marketing sports drinks to children.