Sweaty athletes are often seen in commercials reaching for a sports drink for rehydration or electrolyte replacement.
Yet many public health organizations are warning that sports drinks are a source of empty calories, excess sugar and increased sodium in growing children. Are kids getting the message?
A new study presents a mixed picture. A joint research group from Hofstra University and The Ohio State University studied national data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2010 to 2015. The results show almost 58 percent of high school teenagers report drinking a sports drink “in the past week,” which is a small increase from 56 percent in 2010.
However, teenagers who reported consuming a sports drink “every day” decreased from 16 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2015. While more teenagers are drinking sports drinks overall, those that do are drinking them less frequently.
“Given that there was modest increase in weekly consumption, it is possible teens may be drinking sports drinks as a perceived healthier alternative [over soda] on weekends or occasionally after school,” according to Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York and senior author on the study.